Monday, May 25, 2009

NBA Draft Prospects: Terrence Williams, Louisville

Stats: 12.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 5.0 apg, 2.3 spg, 0.8 bpg, 2.3 t/o's, 43.1% FG, 38.5% 3PT, 58.1% FT

Listed Size: 6'6", 220 lb, 6/28/1987 (21 years old)

(photo credit: StilletoSetSports)

About Him: T-Will is one of the most interesting prospects in this year's draft class because of what he brings to the table as a player. Actually, T-Will is so intriguing because of what he doesn't bring to the table. Simply put, Williams is not a good offensive player, especially when it comes to scoring the ball. I'm not always a huge fan of advanced statistics, but these are pretty startling numbers.

For starters, T-Will's usage rate was extremely low for an NBA prospect - just 14.1 possessions per game (by comparison, Jodie Meeks had a usage rate of 21 possessions per game). He wasn't terribly efficient either, scoring just .87 PPP (points per possession) overall. While Williams proved to be a much improved shooter as the season progressed (he finished the year hitting 38% from deep), he still scored just 1.12 PPP on catch and shoot jumpers and an astonishingly low .58 PPP on pull-ups. He wasn't all that impressive getting to the basket either, scoring just 1.11 PPP at the rim (exactly average for NBA two-guard prospects), scoring just .61 PPP in 1-on-1 isolations, and getting fouled on only 9% of his possessions used. Perhaps the number that stands out the most is his 15.4% shooting when he went to his left (credit for all these stats goes too Synergy Sports).

What does all that tell us? Well, nothing we don't already know. When Williams is selected on June 25th, it is not going to be because he is an excellent scorer. He's not. But he is an incredibly versatile player and a phenomenal athlete (watch his highlights below - the guy is guaranteed to be in a dunk contest one day). Because of his athleticism, his skill that projects the most favorably to the NBA is his defense. He is big and strong with long arms and great explosiveness. He really has a knack for getting into passing lanes and disrupting an offense. We don't know as much about his man-to-man ability (Louisville played a lot of zone), but he should not have a problem at the next level.

The other skill that most scouts will notice is his playmaking ability. T-Will averaged 5.0 apg with an a/to ratio of better than 2:1. He has a great court sense and excellent vision, which meant that he made a lot of gorgeous no-look passes during his time at Louisville. But that did cause some problems, as he seemed to be penetrating to pass way too often. With his size and athleticism, he should have been much more adept at getting to the rim and finishing than he actually was. One of the reasons that Williams didn't attack the basket as much as scouts would have liked is that his handle is not all that great, especially with his left hand. He does not have a lot of advanced moves in his repertiore, and instead relied on his blinding first step to get him by his defender.

The other thing Williams does very will is rebound, snagging 8.6 rpg this past season. He reads the flight of the ball very well, especially on the defensive glass, and his athleticism allows him to get to caroms well out of his area.

Comparisons: Best Case: Andre Iguodala; Worst Case: Tony Allen.

Bottom Line: Unless his offensive game really comes around, T-Will will likely never be a star at this level. But with how much he brings to the table - his versatility as a player and defender (he can guard three spots at the NBA level) - he should be able to hang around the league as a solid role player, maybe even playing some point forward. He looks like a mid-to-late first rounder at this point.


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