While much of the open market stayed put this summer, there have been plenty of new likable destinations for some notable faces across the association. Prominent names, stars, and good locker room veterans provide depth. Even young pieces that fill certain voids provide a boost to improving teams or contenders.
A couple of teams made surprising, significant swings considering the championship tiers that they already hold real estate in. All in an attempt to transition themselves even closer to Larry O’Brien in a league that is suddenly difficult to witness back-to-back champions.
Here are some new additions that could put their new squads over the top and get them to that next anticipated step. Many that add more talent to help upgrade the landscape.
NBA Player #4: Grant Williams, Dallas Mavericks
When last season began, Grant Williams showed improvement offensively in some flashes, putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. Though the Celtics had him out of the rotation sometimes last year, Williams has purely proven he could be a big piece for a contender when the lights are at their brightest. He is quietly one of the NBA’s premiere defenders.
Mainly during Boston’s Finals run, Stan Van Gundy had always voiced on TNT something many had not realized about Williams’ value. It was never consistently displayed, mainly with how the 2022 team’s historic defense was in their front guys, but Williams could be one of the league’s best defenders. Not just with his grit and competitiveness, those slight Draymond Green comparisons come from his undersized ability to cover the one-through-five.
Williams also resembles Green with his playmaking and finding the right targets while shooting. His main contributions to that historically defensive Boston run were presented in their sweep of the Nets on Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo in their deep series win over Milwaukee. Williams brings all-defensive potential to the Mavericks, adding much-needed all-around capabilities to Dallas and another shooter off the catch for Luka Doncic.
More high-scoring outings, like his game 7 in Boston against the Bucks in ’22. There could be more defenses that will guard him more, but that will bring out his attack-the-basket growth. Williams had also voiced on the Mavs’ social media how this summer he has been working on his shot creation. Dallas may have been the 24-year-old’s best choice with their elite defense needs and for a home as he further develops.
Williams could start for Dallas, and with his three-point shooting and defensive prowess, he could pan out to be a better fit than what Christian Wood provided, given the difference on the other end. The Mavericks’ acquisition of Williams could go down as one of the summer’s most underrated moves. Dallas should absolutely be a playoff team again in a full season with this roster.