In case you haven’t noticed, the Boston Celtics have a new marksmanship expert this season.
His name is Grant Williams.
Yes, the same Grant Williams who missed the first 25 long-range attempts of his career became not only Boston’s most efficient 3-point shooter, but also one of the best corner-3 shooters in the entire NBA. .
On Saturday night, the third-year forward knocked down 4 of 6 in a 3-point range, including 3 of 4 in the corners, finishing with 14 points in a 111-105 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The effort took his overall 3-point percentage to 43.1%, the team’s top, and his corner clip 3 to 55.6%. He has now made the fifth most 3-point corners in the league (15) and has the third-highest efficiency among players who have attempted 25 or more of those shots.
In case you were wondering, the last Celtic player who shot at least 50 percent from the corner attempting at least one such shot per game did so 10 years ago, in the 2010-11 season. .
His name was Ray Allen.
Obviously Grant Williams isn’t Ray Allen, but his long-range improvement is worth your attention as it is certainly starting to grab the attention of opposing defenses.
“I feel like I’m more confident taking those shots,” Williams said on Saturday night after the Celtics improved to a game above 0.500. “Over the last couple of years I would have these looks sometimes and fake them or let them go because I’m passive thinking that maybe I could get other guys involved. Now that confidence is where the shot feels natural. I just have to keep playing with that confidence and ability that should open things up for the rest of these guys.
The rest of these guys are aware of Williams’ confidence, and so they keep giving him rocks.
“I think he’s been confident all year,” said head coach Ime Udoka. “He started training camp really well, had a few games where he broke down, but he’s still working on it.
“More importantly, now I think he knows where he’s going to get his shots from the guys. They look for him in the crowd they attract, and he’s ready to let go. We want quick decisions and he does it when he shoots the ball. He’s putting in a big effort on defense, and with the way he shoots on offense, he just has to keep being aggressive and reversing those shots.
Williams has been particularly aggressive in taking those shots over the past five games, sinking 14 of 26 deep. The only Celtic to have taken more long-range shots in this span is Jayson Tatum with a score of 18 of 49.
Williams started giving us a taste of his shooting potential last season when he scored 37.2% of his 3-point attempts, including a 44.6% clip from the corner. The biggest difference this year is that it has almost doubled its volume, going from 2.0 attempts to 3.4 attempts per game. He has also scored at least three 3-pointers in six of his 16 appearances this season having made it just seven times in his previous 132 career games.
With 20% of the season now over, the sample size is large enough to confirm Williams’ emergence as a top-notch shooter. The rest of the league is starting to take notice and so should you, if you haven’t already.