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Celtics’ Grant Williams focusing on developing shot on the move, becoming a pressure defender

Grant Williams knows exactly what he has to do become a viable NBA rotation player sooner rather than later. The Boston Celtics rookie told Jay King of The Athletic that he’s concentrating on honing his long-range jumper, shooting on the move, and pressuring the ball defensively as his first training camp quickly approaches.

Williams was the No. 22 overall pick in June. He enjoyed a standout career at the University of Tennessee, culminating in a First Team All-American selection as a junior, when he led the Volunteers to a 31-6 record and a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. Williams averaged 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game during his final season in college, winning SEC Player of the Year while staking his claim as arguably the best two-way player in college basketball.

There was a split among scouts and analysts leading up to the draft concerning Williams’ potential at the next level given his unique physical profile. He’s just 6-foot-7 with an unspectacular wingspan, small for an interior player, but figures to make up up for it with natural strength, quick feet, and impressive instincts on both sides of the ball.

Shooting and the ability to guard multiple positions was always going to decide how effective Williams would be in the NBA. He shot just 32.6 percent from beyond the arc last season, and isn’t the type of eye-popping athlete who normally is adept at switching onto smaller players on the perimeter.

If Williams’ offseason work pays off, expect him to carve out a meaningful role in Brad Stevens’ rotation as a rookie while coming off the bench.