Grant Williams Scouting Report

Grant Williams
Grant Williams was one of the most productive players in the nation this season, ranking in the top ten of Division I for player efficiency rating (28.8), win shares (8.0), and plus-minus (13.5). (Photo by Kelly Gerdin, Tennessee Athletics)

Grant Williams is an undersized power forward, who uses strength and physicality to dominate in the paint.  He also has a high basketball IQ and great feel for the game, and makes significant contributions as both a passer and a defender.  This season, he produced outstanding numbers, averaging 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game, with shooting splits of .564/.326/.819.  He was named the SEC Player of the Year for a second consecutive season and also earned first-team All-America honors. 

Williams may not be flashy, but he is one of the most efficient players in the nation.  This past season, he averaged 1.37 points plus assists per possession, which ranked at the 96th percentile.  His overall metrics were also very high; he ranked in the top ten in the country for player efficiency rating (28.8), win shares (8.0), and plus-minus (13.5). 

Though Williams has steadily expanded his game during his three years at Tennessee, and is now a threat from the perimeter, he still makes his living in the paint.  Post-up plays accounted for 30 percent of his possessions this season, and on those plays, he averaged 1.17 points per possession (PPP), which ranked at the 97th percentile.  He has the strength to regularly establish deep position on the inside, sealing off his defender and then powering through contact for scores.  He can turn effectively with either shoulder and finish with either hand.  The junior is not limited to low-post bully moves, however.  He is extremely quick with spins and drop steps, and is also capable with jump hooks and turnaround jumpers. 

According to most, Williams is a borderline first-round prospect, but my analysis of his strengths and weaknesses (listed below) reveals that he might be the most disrespected prospect in this draft.  The knocks on him include a lack of great length and athleticism, and a suspect perimeter game on both ends of the court.  On the other hand, his overall productivity cannot be denied, and he has made steady progress in expanding his game.  Given his energy, work ethic, and the fact that he is a young junior (20.6), he would appear to have more upside than he is being given credit for, and in my opinion, he will definitely be a better pro than a number of players who are projected to be drafted before him.

Position:  PF Team/Class: Tennessee (Jr.)
Birthday:  11/30/98 Nationality: United States
Height:  6-7 Weight: 240
Wingspan: 6-10 Vertical: 26 inches standing and 31.5 max
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Strengths:

  • A very sturdy and strong player, with adequate length and underrated quickness and speed; led all participants in the bench-press test at this year’s NBA Combine
  • Highly efficient and versatile post-up game
  • Very productive on cuts to the basket, ranking at the 87th percentile for PPP
  • Not nifty with the ball, but very capable with spin moves and power drives from the perimeter; ranked at the 94th percentile for PPP in isolation this season
  • Very reliable jump shooter within 17 feet, making 53 percent of his shots
  • Shows excellent potential as a pick-and-pop shooter, making 10 of 17 shots (59 percent)
  • A solid rebounder, and highly efficient on put-backs; ranking at the 94th percentile for PPP
  • Lives at the charity stripe and makes a high percentage; fouled on 24.4 percent of his possessions and averaged 7.0 free throws per game
  • Excellent vision and makes quick decisions as a passer; had a turnover-assist ratio of 1.41, which rivals many point guards
  • Displays great instincts and impeccable timing as a defender; averaged 3.3 steals and blocks combined per 40 minutes, which ranked at the 86th percentile among players tracked by Hoops Prospects this season
  • A solid all-around defender, who plays with physicality and energy; ranked at the 74th percentile for PPP allowed this season
  • Intelligent, hard working, and highly productive

Weaknesses:

  • Not an exceptional athlete, especially in terms of vertical explosiveness
  • Not a natural shooter from deep – shoots in a deliberate fashion, and generally takes threes (1.2 per game) only when he is open
  • A straight-line driver, who lacks great agility
  • As an undersized power forward who lacks explosiveness off the floor, potentially could be bothered by length at the next level
  • Needs to add a more sophisticated fade-away jumper to his arsenal; currently shoots turnaround jumpers straight up and down, with little separation from defenders
  • Vulnerable on the perimeter as a defender vs. smaller players; ranked at the 50th percentile for PPP allowed in isolation this season

Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements:  Stats used in our scouting reports mainly come from Synergy Sports Technology and RealGM.com, and occasionally from Hoop-Math.com and Sports-Reference.com.  Other outside sources are noted with links to the source. 

About R. C. Harris 62 Articles
Richard has worked as a sports writer/editor/analyst since 1998. He is the former CEO of FantasyFootballExperts.com and a former member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). He has contributed to various magazines, radio shows, and a number of other sites, including ESPN.com, SI.com, and USAToday.com. Follow on Twitter @HoopsProspects.