Grant Williams, the three-point nerd who saved the Celtics

With a certain lanky appearance and a physique almost more typical of a boxer, Grant Williams seemed to be entrusted with the least desired role in the series between Bucks y Celtics: the one of tireless defender of the rival star, Giannis Antetokounmpo. With some irregularity, Williams He hadn’t been doing too badly in this role so far, but the decisive match had a more special place reserved for him.

Williams he had never thrown more than eight 3-pointers in an NBA game before last Sunday. He had never scored more than six. He had never led the Boston Celtics in annotation. All of those things changed in Game 7 in which he finished with 27 points on a 7-for-18 shooting from 3-point range.

“Grant won the match for us, match 7,” he exclaimed. Jason Tatumstar of the Celtics after the victory by 106-81.

Not used to seeing him shoot consistently, the Bucks they conceded some of their first attempts from the corners.

“Tonight they were disrespecting him more than at the beginning of the series,” coach Ime Udoka said of the situation. “I basically told him to shoot. What else can you do? Throw the shot that they’re giving you.” And Grant did not disappoint taking advantage of the great opportunity that was presented to him.

Williams he did not enter the NBA as a 3-point shooter. In fact, he only made 15 3-point shots during his final season at Tennessee and only 30 in his college basketball career.

Williams defending Giannis Antetokounmpo. The role of the 12 of the Celtics has been key in the series

Steven Senne

As a rookie, he shot 25% from 3-point range, but last season he improved that percentage to 37.2%. This year, he increased both his volume and his percentage, as he shot 41.1% while shooting 3.4 per game.

Against the Bucks, had struggled since his Game 2 performance, going just 2-for-14 in his last four games. That’s why Milwaukee decided to leave him wide open in Game 7, a strategy that backfired.

Williams had a great time taking on the lead role for once on the dream stage, that Boston Garden so magical in game seven. It was to see a wish come true for years for a young man who, despite his application in his studies and his high intellectual level, was clear that what made him happy was basketball.

Grant is the son of a NASA electrical engineer who was hoping her son would accept one of the offers from universities in the Ivy League (Princeton, Yale or Harvard) to continue their studies.

But after attending a nearby private school known for its basketball program, the future Celtic he became hooked on the game, to the point where his NBA dreams began to overshadow the academic interests of a self-confessed nerd.

“My mom always said she believed in me. But she didn’t care about basketball. All she cared about was academics,” he said. Williams.

Although he ended up getting a degree in economics there, Williams he chose Tennessee because it was his best option to get to the NBA And it turns out that he was right for the sports project that was proposed to him, helping to mold the player who became the 22nd selection of Boston in the 2019 NBA Draft.

“My mother was pissed off. She didn’t speak to me for two months,” she once explained about those years.

With the perspective of now, the choice of basketball has led to an income that perhaps he would not have achieved otherwise. He currently has a guaranteed contract with the Celtics worth $2.6 million and is estimated to earn $4.3 million next season.

Being a professional basketball player, however, hasn’t changed the way I Williams he continues to embrace his intellectual side, whether in his interest in the board game Catan, or even in his analysis of basketball. There is also in his genes a certain artistic hobby that, like the physicist, he has inherited from his father, Gilberta former jazz musician and college player who had also worked as a bodyguard for famous artists, including himself Prince.

A few weeks ago he appeared at a press conference after a game with a list on his mobile phone in which he associated each teammate with a Marvel superhero. Marcus Smart was the Incredible Hukl, Al Horford he was Captain America… and so on. The role of Batman was reserved for him since last March 20 he placed a plug on Nikola Jokic, also known as ‘The Joker’.

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