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Grant Williams Exclusive Interview

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Grant Williams joined Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman for a CLNS Media exclusive on his rookie season, and missing Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker. 

Grant Williams famously appeared on ESPN’s mic’d up segment during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals last month. He beat Jaylen Brown in rock-paper-scissors, incessantly applauded and greeted teammates coming in and out. On the court, he called out every motion the Miami offense ran.

Williams, appearing on Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman’s CLNS Media Podcast this week, said he tried to speak up two nights prior in the Celtics locker room. Boston blew double-digit leads in back-to-back games to start the series and a feud broke out, reportedly centering around Marcus Smart calling out teammates. Grant tried to interject and teammates quickly told him to “shut the f*** up.”

One of the most talkative rookies in recent league history, Williams proved to be the most successful of Boston’s 2019 draft picks. Scoring 3.4 points with 2.8 rebounds per game, he succeeded on the defensive side of the court and became Brad Stevens’ preferred backup center late in the playoffs even at 6’6”. He also rarely stopped talking.

“Theis has told me shut up a couple times,” Williams said. “He’s like, ‘just let the play happen. We kind of know what’s coming, but you don’t have to call out what’s coming.’ There’s a clip of me ... screaming at ‘Duncan Robinson, Duncan Robinson’ ... those are points where you’re like, ok Grant, maybe you talk a lot.”

Williams and the Celtics reunite training camp for their first action since that series this week, with Grant possibly vying for a starting role. Kemba Walker is injured, with Marcus Smart already filling in for Gordon Hayward, who Boston lost to Charlotte.

Losing Gordon Hayward

“We’ll definitely miss him in terms of the comradely he brings. He brings a nice little off-beat personality where he’s not super talkative, but he’s not quiet. We’ll also definitely miss his play style, he was a guy who led the second unit, or even the first unit when he was going ... it’ll open up opportunity for myself, Romeo, the new guys as well, Aaron Nesmith.”

Living with Kemba Walker

“Kemba and I worked out really well, because every now and again we’d come down and play video games, may sit down play Trouble, cards, or whatever. Other than that we’re just living life, he’s one of my closest friends on the team and definitely one of the guys I’m thankful for ... you can definitely tell he may miss a little bit of time, but I know that he’s a fighter, I know he’s going to get back to who he is and prove the world why he’s considered one of the top point guards in the league ... I know that when we were in the bubble, we had to step up around him.”

Activities since the season ended

Williams also discussed Boston’s re-entry to training camp and COVID-19 limitations they’ll face starting this week. He’s looking to expand upon a rookie season where he progressed from an 0-for-25 three-point shooter to begin, before reaching a 58.8% mark in the playoffs.

“I took like four days, three days maybe. Then I just got right back to it. Not only working out, but basketball during that time you had to find where you could go. Now it’s more so getting used to regulations with the league ... once we’re able to do team stuff and get back into the facility it’s full on run.”

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