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Why did Grant Williams take a pass on summer league this year?



LAS VEGAS -- When the Boston Celtics' season came to an end, Grant Williams had some options to consider.


Near the top of his list was whether to play for Boston’s summer league team.


In an exclusive one-on-one interview, Williams said Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, his head coach in each of Williams’ two NBA seasons, gave him the option of playing in summer league or not.


“If I hadn’t played or if I was hurt, maybe I would have played in summer league,” Williams said. “But since I had the opportunity to play the past two years, we thought it would be best for me to focus on my body and training and get better for next season.”


Williams, drafted by Boston with the No. 22 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, has appeared in 132 regular season games with the Celtics.


A career 4.0 points per game scorer, Williams has also averaged 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from 3-point range.


Williams was often criticized last season for his lack of offensive production, averaging 4.7 points in 18.1 minutes per game.


Along with continuing to improve his strength and conditioning, Williams said improving as a scorer has been among the primary goals he has set for himself heading into training camp.


“Just improving on the perimeter and more offensive development,” said Williams.


While Williams’ shooting last season left plenty of room for growth, his numbers by season’s end were significantly better than they were during his rookie season.


In his first season, nba.com/stats show that Williams made 27.8 percent of his shots from 20-24 feet out, and 22.5 percent of his shots from 25-29 feet.


Last season, his shooting from 20-24 feet improved to 43.1 percent. And on shots 25-29 feet away, he improved his shooting to 30.4 percent.


“Next is just being more versatile; that’s the next step,” Williams said.


Along with becoming more of a scoring threat, Williams must also balance that with his new role as one of the leaders of the NBA’s Players Association.


Williams, 22, was recently elected as a Vice-President of the NBA’s Players Association.


“I’m blessed to help lead this league into the future,” Williams said. “But also, just make an impact for the guys like myself that are young and developing and trying to hopefully make key decisions that are best for the league.”


When word spread that Williams had been elected, count Celtics teammate Carsen Edwards among those not surprised.


Edwards recalled how Williams’ efforts to be part of the player union’s leadership team, began during their rookie seasons.


“For All-Star break we went to the Bahamas and had NBAPA meeting there,” Edwards recalled. “Grant, at that point was trying to get elected. He didn’t, but at the time the way he spoke about the league and the changes he wants to make, I felt like … his time was coming. He knows a little about everything, I swear. This is a good place for him. I’m happy for him.”


Williams added, “I’m blessed to help lead this league into the future. But also, just make an impact for the guys like myself that are young and developing and trying to hopefully make key decisions that are best for the league.”



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