As the Boston Celtics try to return to full strength following recent injuries to Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III, one option they should consider to stabilize their current situation is inserting forward Grant Williams into the starting lineup for the rest of the season.
Williams has continued to improve his game year after year, seeing his stats rise as he secured his role being a key component to the Celtics’ core.
The 2019 first-rounder is putting up career highs in points (9.0), rebounds (4.6), and assists (1.7) while shooting 48 percent from the field and 42 percent from three. It’s a major improvement from his first three seasons when he averaged 5.4 points, three rebounds, and one assist on a shooting accuracy of 45 percent per game.
Besides being a versatile defender and a sneaky sniper from the corner 3-point spots, Williams has provided a lot of activity to Boston’s benefit. According to Basketball Reference, the team is +5.6 points better per 100 possessions when he’s on the court as it drops by 5.6 when he takes a seat.
Williams has given Boston plenty of reason to show he can be effective as a starter whenever big men Al Horford or Robert Williams III are unavailable to play. In 18 starts this year, he is averaging 10.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on 52 percent shooting overall and 42 percent from deep. The Celtics went 14-4 in these games.
However, if both big men remain healthy enough to stay in the starting lineup heading into next season, it will keep Williams as one of the team’s top bench options. It could stay that way unless he decides he wants a change of scenery to maximize his skillset.
Grant Williams’ Boston Celtics future
It will be interesting to see how Williams approaches the offseason once he finishes his rookie contract. The Celtics will want to give him a long-term, team-friendly deal with respect to their salary cap, but he will look to see what other offers await him as a restricted free agent.
While Williams may continue to be in and out of the starting lineup as this season progresses, it should be a priority for the Boston Celtics to upgrade his role for the long run should they seek to retain him with a new contract during the offseason.