Where Williams Shows Up in Mock Drafts
Just because a player is ranked inside the top 25 overall prospects doesn’t mean he’ll be drafted in the first 25 picks or even in the first round, though. Team needs often supersede what a player’s overall grade may be, and the “best available” approach doesn’t always come into play in the first round depending on the team.
As I said previously, the NBA Draft lottery hasn’t taken place, and that will undoubtedly affect how teams approach their boards and their needs once that gets decided. The lottery will take place on May 14th of this year.
All of this doesn’t even mention all the pre-draft trades and trades on draft day that will take place, too.
With that in mind, let’s take a look where Grant Williams is being predicted in some mock drafts.
The highest I’ve been able to find Williams drafted in 2019 NBA mock drafts is by Tankathon. Their mock draft (updated April 13th) listed Williams as their No. 17 overall prospect, and they have him being selected No. 22 overall in the draft by the Boston Celtics. It’s widely believed the Celtics will target some power forward help in this year’s draft, and Williams has been tied to Boston in several iterations of mock drafts this year.
CBS Sports also has Williams as a late first-round pick, but their mock draft (updated April 16th) has him being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 26th overall pick. Interestingly, they have Williams being selected after teammate Admiral Schofield. CBS Sports has Schofield being drafted 23rd overall by the Utah Jazz. It’s one of the few mock drafts I’ve seen Schofield projected as a first-round pick.
In their latest mock draft that was updated today, April 22nd, Bleacher Report has Williams being taken with the 29th overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs. That would mean Williams would be a first-round selection, but only barely. There are 30 picks in the first round of the NBA Draft.
The only major outlet I’ve seen that doesn’t have Williams as a first-round pick is NBADraft.net. While their big board of prospects hasn’t been updated in almost a month, their most recent mock draft was released on April 18th. And according to their analysis, Williams isn’t a first round prospect.
The mock draft on NBADraft.net predicts Williams will be selected No. 38 overall by the Chicago Bulls. Their mock draft, just like CBS Sports’ draft, has Admiral Schofield being taken before Williams. Schofield goes No. 35 overall to the Atlanta Hawks in their projections.
When you dive deeper on NBADraft.net’s analysis of Williams, it’s clear they have much more questions about how he will translate to the NBA than most other sites.
NBADraft.net compares Williams’ game to Philadelphia 76ers’ forward Mike Scott. In 2012, the Virginia power forward was selected 43rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks and has spent eight seasons in the NBA. In 436 career games (11 starts), Scott has averaged 7.1 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting a slash line of .465/.364/.755 in his career.
Per their analysis, Williams’ strengths are his ability to finish around the basket, his versatility as a defender, his reported 6-foot-11 wingspan that “allows him to out-rebound taller/more athletic players down low,” his mid-range and free throw shooting, and shot-blocking ability. They also mention his competitiveness, his “high motor,” and his leadership and basketball IQ.
As for his weaknesses, NBADraft.net cites Williams’ lack of athleticism like many others, but they also add much more that takes away from his game. Their analysis states that Williams is undersized at 6-foot-7, is “not an explosive athlete,” is “foul prone,” and states he “struggles to stay in front of quicker guards due to his lack of athleticism and height.” They also believe he’s “hesitant” to utilize his jump shot, opting instead to go to the post or even passing the ball away.
Though they don’t have him pegged as a first-round pick, the analysts at NBADraft.net don’t count out Williams’ ability to prove them wrong and get drafted late in the first round.
“If Williams can prove at workouts/the combine that he can take players off the dribble and that his jump-shot is fluid enough, he should be able to sneak into the first round,” writes NBADraft.net. “Williams plays like a small-ball four and has similarities to PJ Tucker or Mike Scott, but he needs to improve defensively and look more fluid on the perimeter whether it be off the dribble or shooting to reach the level of those comparisons.”
Most analysts seem to buy into Williams’ ability to realize his potential and play better than his athleticism and size would indicate, but it’s clear that those are the biggest concerns about his play in the NBA. The workout process will be huge for Williams, and he could either cement himself as a first-round pick or cause scouts to raise more questions about his game.