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Grant Williams averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds for Tennessee this past season. 

By Emily Caron
June 20, 2019

The Boston Celtics selected Tennessee forward Grant Williams with the No. 22 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Williams averaged a team-high 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds to go with 3.2 assists per game through 37 starts, leading the Vols all the way to the Sweet 16, where the team's 2018-19 season ended in an overtime loss to Purdue. The 6'7", 240-pound forward shot at a 56.5% clip from the field and 32.6% from deep.

Williams dropped a career-high 43 points at Vanderbilt in January—the most points by a Tennessee player since all-time leading scorer Allan Houston also dropped 43 against LSU in 1990.

The consensus first-team All-American was also honored as the SEC Player of the Year during both his sophomore and junior seasons, making Williams the first player to win in consecutive seasons since 1995. Williams graduated from Tennessee in May prior to declaring for the draft.

SI NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo’s breakdown: Williams is clearly an exceptional college player, but there are questions about how the elements of his game translate at the next level. While his stock may never get higher, there’s some debate from scout to scout about whether he’s actually worthy of a first-round selection. His strength, smarts and scoring touch are all real positives, but Williams is going to have to make big strides as a jump shooter to stick around. His post-up game and rebounding seem likely to be hampered a bit against NBA frontlines, and he’s unlikely to ever create much of his own offense on the perimeter. While it’s reasonable to bet on him figuring out a way to be successful, his on-court limitations will likely require a strong system fit for him to carve out a long-term role, and his upside isn’t extreme.

Woo's Grade: B+

Williams is a really nice fit in Boston, where he can play to his strengths alongside its array of scorers and focus on doing the dirty work and making its other players better. The Celtics may end up rolling with a young roster next season, and should benefit from having him around. There are some questions about translation with him offensively, and about his perimeter defense, but Williams lands in a pretty ideal situation here, and it should position him well for long-term success in the correct sort of role.

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