The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Grant Williams
Max vertical: N/A
2018/19 stats: 18.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.5 bpg, 56.4 FG% (6.3/11.2), 32.6 3PT% (0.4/1.2), 81.9 FT%
Player comparison: Thaddeus Young, Jae Crowder
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 32nd, NBADraft.net 36th, Bleacher Report 29th, Sports Illustrated 38th, Ringer 17th
5 things to know:
*Williams was a three-year starter at Tennessee during their resurgence under head coach Rick Barnes. He was a consensus All-American and two-time SEC player of the year. He was the first player to repeat as SEC player of the year since Corliss Williamson in the 1990s.
*Williams is an undersized power forward. He is a bit short for his position, but makes up for it with strength and power. That used to be more of a knock on NBA prospects, the idea of a 'tweener.' But nowadays, with more positionless basketball, some players have made it work. Draymond Green and Paul Millsap come to mind.
*He isn't much of an outside shooter. Williams shot just 29.1 percent from three in college, though he did set career-highs in makes and attempts as a junior. By all accounts, he has a lot of work to do with his shooting, not just in making more but also his confidence to trust it. Williams, though, is a very good free throw shooter. He shot 81.9 percent from the line as a junior. It just won't be easy getting to the line as often as he did in college (7.0 FTA/g) in the NBA.
*Williams was a very good defender in college. He averaged over a block and steal per game as a junior and grabbed a lot of defensive rebounds. He is considered a smart and physical defensive player and one with solid versatility. The question will be whether any of his rim protecting success in college will translate to the next level due to his size and modest leaping ability.
*His mother is a NASA engineer. Williams was a strong student himself and had opportunities to play for Ivy League schools.
Fit with Wizards: Barring a rapid rise up draft boards, Williams is unlikely to be one of the best options for the ninth overall pick. The Wizards could likely get someone who offers more upside at that spot.
But there are some things about Williams that will entice the Wizards. They could use more players like him, ones with high basketball IQ, the ability to play team defense and do the dirty work for rebounds.
Williams may offer a relatively low ceiling for players that could be drafted in the top-20, but he may also have a high floor and represent a safe pick. If the Wizards decide to trade back, he could be a strong option. Or, if they buy into the top of the second round, perhaps he falls and is there to be taken as a glue guy to add depth in their frontcourt.