Tatum shades Grant Williams while assessing C's frontcourt options originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The fourth-year forward is one of a few healthy Celtics big men who could see increased roles early in the season with Robert Williams sidelined for eight to 12 weeks and Danilo Gallinari out indefinitely with a torn ACL.
Seven-foot-2 center Luke Kornet and NBA Summer League standout Mfiondu Kabengele are in the frontcourt mix as well, and at Boston's third training camp practice Thursday, Celtics star Jayson Tatum shared his assessment of all three bigs.
"We've known Luke for a while. He's been here," Tatum said. "(Kabengele) is an extremely active, physical lob threat. Grant -- kinda short."
Grant Williams indeed is the Celtics' shortest "big man" at just 6-foot-6 but plays well above his height at a sturdy 236 pounds. So, after shading his teammate, Tatum showed Williams some love, insisting the 23-year-old can hold it down against opposing big men.
"(He) competes, big body," Tatum said. "We know what Grant's gonna give us every night."
This isn't the first time Tatum has ribbed Williams, but the two are close friends who enjoy busting each other's chops, and it's good to see them back in midseason form.
Boston does have a legitimate big man question to answer, however: The team could start Kornet at the five alongside Al Horford, or it could shift the 6-foot-8 Tatum to power forward and Horford to center in a "small ball" lineup.
Tatum appears ready for that possibility as the Celtics adopt a "next man up" mentality.
"Yeah, I'm like the second-tallest guy on the team. Really. So, whatever they need me to do, I'll do," Tatum said.
Boston kicks off its preseason schedule this Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets at 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston.