A collection of tidbits from a week in Las Vegas…
1. Not only did Celtics center Robert Williams arrive at summer league six pounds lighter, but he also showed up sporting new ink across his neck.
The tattoo reads “LOE,” with the “O” in the shape of a heart. The three letters can also be found in Williams’s Twitter and Instagram bios. So, what do they stand for?
Loyalty over everything, according to Williams.
“I live by loyalty a lot,” he told Boston.com. “That’s what I try to live by, being loyal to everything. I feel like if you’re loyal, you get a good outcome.”
2. Also featured in Williams’s Instagram bio is a wolf emoji, which he’s included in the caption of nine of his posts from the past year. Why the wolf?
“Me and my homeboys from back home, we just call ourselves wolves,” Williams explained. “A pack of wolves just running it.”
“We’re killers, we’re killers,” he continued. “We fought to make it out of where we were from, you know what I’m saying? And we don’t want to go back. We’re killers. We’re looking for blood. It’s just mindset we keep. I figured it was the perfect emoji; plus, I kind of look like a wolf.”
3. Before Boston’s second “regular-season” game Monday, first-round draft pick Grant Williams stopped to say hello to Sacramento Kings forward Harry Giles, who was watching Nets-Wizards from the baseline.
The two first met while competing on the high school basketball circuit in North Carolina — and forged a friendship after Giles invited Williams to join him on Team CP3, an AAU team organized by veteran point guard Chris Paul. The pair ended up developing a close bond as roommates on the road during the summer of 2015.
“I remember practicing with him all the time,” Williams recalled. “We’d try to be on the same team because if not, I was going to hit him every five seconds.”
Having played both with and against Williams, Giles gave his stamp of approval for his friend’s game. Like those who have previously coached Williams, Giles praised his intelligence and work ethic but noted there’s a certain toughness to him, too.
“He was like a little bully in a way because he talked junk,” Giles told Boston.com. “Just the way his body type is and the way he plays, he gives off a bully mentality.”
The NBA schedule for next season has yet to be released, but Boston’s two contests against the Kings will certainly be circled on Williams’s calendar — just as they were on that of forward Jayson Tatum, another one of Giles’s close friends, a year ago.
After Williams was drafted 22nd overall by the Celtics, Giles FaceTimed him before starting a group chat with Tatum. He wanted to take the time to connect the new teammates, especially given Tatum’s busy summer schedule.
“I felt it was going to happen anyway, but why not just go ahead and take the initiative?” Giles said. “Just having somebody there like Jayson to look after him, show him around.”
As for how Tatum and Williams will mesh on the court?
“That don’t really matter to me because I play for another team,” Giles said. “As long as they get along off the court, that’s all that matters.”
But he’s confident Williams will grow as a rookie.
“He’s just always willing to work,” he said. “That’s all you can ask for in a player coming up, just wanting to be better. I think the sky’s the limit for him. And he’s in a great city, being in Boston.”
4. Paul and his son, Chris Paul Jr., actually sat courtside for the second half of the Celtics’ 89-72 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“He was talking to me every possession,” Williams told Boston.com. “After I made my spin dunk, he said, ‘Yeah, G! Yeah, G!’ I wasn’t able to look at him because I was going to smile. I’m a goofy guy, but I tried to be serious because I just made a play.”
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) July 9, 2019
5. During the first quarter of Boston’s 95-82 win over the Denver Nuggets last Tuesday, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was spotted advising second-round draft pick Tremont Waters on the bench. Waters, who was selected 51st overall, elected to keep the topic of their conversation private, saying only that Ainge was sharing “information on the game that can help.”
Regardless, the gesture seemingly meant a lot.
“It showed that they’re invested in me,” Waters told Boston.com. “Obviously, I know it’s a business and things can go south really fast, but, to know that Danny’s on my side and that they’re backing me, it helps me loosen up a lot more.”
The Celtics have yet to officially announce Waters’s status for the upcoming season, but a team source confirmed The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn’s report that the 21-year-old Connecticut native will be signing a two-way contract.
Waters acknowledged the initial transition to the NBA has been a bit challenging, as he navigates when to push the ball and when to let the defense dictate the offense, but his feel for the game appears to be only improving. After logging 2 assists and 9 points on 3-for-13 shooting in his debut, Waters shot 46.8 percent from the field and averaged 6.3 assists over the team’s next three games.
He showed impressive court vision and anticipation, dishing out a number of highlight reel-worthy passes. He also stayed active defensively, often disrupting opponents with his pesky hands and impeccable timing. Waters thanked his teammates and coaching staff for giving him the freedom to play his game.
Listed at 5-foot-11, Waters has cited Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet as well as former Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas as players he models his game after. However, he made it clear he’s looking to make a name for himself.
“I want to show the world that undersized guards can make it,” he said. “But I want to be the first Tremont Waters. Not the next Isaiah Thomas. Obviously, I love his game, I like him as a person, but I want to be the first Tremont Waters to do it.”
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 10, 2019