Grant Williams didn’t need much time as an NBA player to draw an important conclusion about his team.
The Boston Celtics rookie forward told SiriusXM NBA Radio on Tuesday he believes the team is “underestimated” and “underrated” going into the 2019-20 season. Williams suspects the ages of the Celtics’ veterans have convinced naysayers Boston is years away from competing for Eastern Conference supremacy.
“I feel like we’re underestimated, underrated team because we have a lot of veteran guys who may be young,” Williams said. “You have Enes Kanter who’s probably 28, 27 years old. Kemba Walker. You have guys that have high talent in Jayson (Tatum) and Jaylen (Brown) who have proven themselves over the last couple of years. There’s a lot of talent on this team that I feel is undervalued.
Williams insists Tatum is a better player than his 2018-19 statistics suggest and he also expects observers to appreciate Kemba Walker more, now that he has left the Charlotte Hornets, with whom he endured six losing seasons in his first eight years in the NBA.
“A guy like Jayson who has two or three years and has competed as a star in the league still is one of those guys — he may have had a quote down year, but if you look at the team, he had to be a little bit more passive and a little bit less shot selection,” Williams said. “And adding a guy like Kemba who is a superstar already but may not have been considered a superstar because he was in Charlotte, because he wasn’t necessarily winning as much.
“So, hopefully, we can add not only to their portfolios but add it to the team, and get back to what Boston is known as. A team that has championship-caliber players every year and is fighting for that next banner that will (put) us even further away from the competition.
The Celtics selected Williams out of the University of Tennessee with the 22nd overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. His upbeat attitude has excited Celtics fans, and his early assessment of the team’s chances only will bring him further into Boston’s good graces.