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Board games and basketball: Grant Williams cherished time living with Kemba Walker

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Williams and Walker grew closer together during the NBA’s lockdown.

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Kemba Walker and Grant Williams spent a ton of time together over the last three months when the NBA was on lockdown.

It was a unique opportunity for the duo as the veteran point guard and Celtics rookie lived together in Charlotte during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But while Williams’ exuberant personality has seemed to rub off on his teammates this season, Williams’ affinity for playing board games didn’t have the same effect on Walker when they shared a living space.

“The best I could get (out of him) was UNO and cards,” said Williams to reporters via Zoom Monday, who added that Walker does like to play the board game Trouble. “That’s where we differ. He doesn’t like to sit in places for a long time. He’s not sitting for three hours trying to play monopoly.”

While the two may have differences in what boards games they like the best, Williams and Walker used the opportunity to get to know one another more. Williams was very grateful that Walker opened up his doors to him as Williams didn’t want to stay with family in fear of getting them sick.

“Honestly, it was amazing,” Williams said. “It was great to be able to hang out with him and get to know him better, as well as be able to workout and progress on the basketball floor. What I learned about him was we’re very similar. It’s kind of funny in terms of lifestyle and what we enjoy. We actually very much bonded and got to know each other a little bit better.”

Williams added: “It meant the world, especially at that time when no one knew (much about) moving forward. ... For him to reach out to extend that helping hand, was not only a great thing for a teammate to do, but a friend to do.”

But the board games will have to be put back on the shelf at least temporarily with the Celtics back to work and holding individual workouts at the Auerbach Center.

For Williams, it’s a longer inaugural NBA campaign than he had hoped for and such a long hiatus from the game could be detrimental to any young player’s development. But Williams took the extra time to improve, specifically trying to become more of a threat offensively on the perimeter.

Williams certainly needs work in that area after he missed his first 25 attempts from beyond the arc as a professional. Williams did bounce back though to hit 21 of his next 60 3-point shots and that should give him some confidence as he continues to try to expand his range.

“I used it as an advantage to work on my game, my ball-handling and just become more comfortable as a perimeter player than post-player or back-to-the-basket player I was in college,” Williams said. “It was actually a little bit of opportunity, but also a little bit of hindrance. It’s something we have to go through. Right now, it’s similar to summer league what I’d be going through.”