If you talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. Otherwise you could look like a pretty big doofus. Just ask Grant Williams. The Boston Celtics forward had a chance to be the hero on Monday night in Cleveland when he was sent to the free-throw line for two attempts in a tie game with virtually no time left on the clock.
Rather than focus on the task at hand and lock in on his free-throw preparation, Williams got sucked into the mind games played by Cavaliers superstar Donovan Mitchell. With Mitchell clearly trying to psyche him out, Williams felt it necessary to emphatically declare "I'm gonna make both" no less than three times.
Of course, Williams missed them both, and the Celtics, who had held a double-digit lead with under five minutes remaining, lost in overtime.
Everyone's Asking - Is Grant Williams a Bad Free Throw Shooter?
Andre Drummond has shot 47.5% from the charity stripe over his career. Shaquille O'Neal made just over half of his foul shots. Ben Wallace and DeAndre Jordan are both epically awful from the free-throw line. Even Wilt Chamberlain (54%) and Bill Russell (56.1%) were among the notably poor free-throw shooters.
Grant Williams is a career 79% shooter from the foul line. This year he is shooting 81%, and last year he was above 90%. He should be able to make at least one foul shot when the money is on the table.
Adding even more comedy to this story is that Williams, who just did one of the most embarrassing things that a basketball player could do at the foul line, also did one of the best.
In 2019, Williams had a historic night from the free-throw line, making 23 consecutive attempts in a 43-point showing for his Tennessee Volunteers, the top-ranked team in the country. Williams's performance in an 88-83 win over Vanderbilt was the most free throw attempts made without a miss in a game since 1959, when Arlen Clark made all 24 foul shots for Oklahoma State in a game against Colorado.
Williams was an exceptional player at Tennessee. He can shoot it from the foul line. Except when he's too busy running his mouth.
You Reap What You Sow
Look, don't get me wrong. I'm a Celtics fan, and I wanted Boston to win that game. I'm not happy that the C's have now dropped three in a low and continue to lose ground to the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
But, boy was I hoping Grant Williams would miss those two foul shots after I saw him lipping off to Donovan Mitchell.
First of all, the game was tied, so the Celtics would still have an opportunity to play overtime. It's not like I was rooting for an automatic loss.
Grant's behavior in this moment, and really throughout his Celtics career, has been embarrassing, and bordering on infuriating. A bench piece who averages just 6.1 points per game, he carries himself as if he deserves the rep and respect of a superstar. Williams is constantly complaining to the refs, arguing with and directing his teammates, and talking trash to his opponents. After he missed the two free-throws, he was caught sulking on the sideline, forcing coach Joe Mazzulla to help mend his broken ego: "Don't make this about you."
It's clear that players around the league don't have the same opinion of Williams that he has of himself. Donovan Mitchell knew he could be rattled, and Grant played right into his trap. Sometimes a Celtics loss is worth seeing that kind of a player get taught a lesson.
That lesson? Some people just shouldn't talk the talk.
MORE: Grant Williams Once Broke a Half Century Old Record for Consecutive Free Throws Made
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