Drop 18.5 factors per sport to tempo your workforce? Verify. Drop 70 factors in a two-game span, courtesy of 26 made baskets and 14 free throws? Verify. Win ACC Participant of the 12 months for, largely, these aforementioned scoring talents? Verify.
So it is intriguing, then, that when Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes is requested which a part of Williams’ sport will most readily translate to the NBAhe does not deal with any particular occasion of Williams scoring.
As an alternative, he focuses on one time Williams did not.
This was again in December, as a part of that two-game, 70-point stretch the place Williams went scorched earth. The 6-foot-5 graduate switch was at his finest within the second of these two contests, in opposition to Charlotte, dropping 34 factors with a dizzying array of shot-making magic. However with seconds left to play, the sport was nonetheless tied at 79 – and Williams had the ball in his palms. “Scorers a number of the time go in there,” Forbes recollects, “put up a troublesome shot, and attempt to win it.” And as Williams drove left to the rim, with a number of defenders collapsing on him, that actual situation gave the impression to be taking part in itself out… till the final second, when Williams swung a left-handed hammer go to the alternative nook, the place a wide-open teammate drained the game-winning 3. “He was very keen to surrender the ball to win the sport,” Forbes says. “He had that belief degree.”
That actual mixture of scoring and playmaking made Williams such a dynamic school guard – and why the Brooklyn Nets signed him to a two-way deal after he went undrafted.
It is simply the fruits in Williams’ speedy rise from junior school to function participant at Oklahoma to full-blown star within the ACC.
And, frankly, not even Forbes knew simply how particular a participant he was getting when he landed Williams out of the switch portal final offseason. That is sensible when you think about that, in two seasons at Oklahoma, Williams averaged a meager 6.3 factors per sport and never even one help. Evaluate that to this season’s stat line – 18.5 factors, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per sport – and it’s virtually such as you’re speaking about two totally different gamers.
Forbes requested – or fairly, required – Williams to do various things than he beforehand had. Given Forbes ’personal junior school background, he knew Williams’ former coach at Triton School, Steve Christiansen, and discovered that Williams had performed incessantly with the ball in his palms. So whereas that wasn’t the case with the Sooners, it was nonetheless one thing Williams had executed earlier than and had some degree of consolation with. “I didn’t anticipate him taking part in the one so much till I actually bought him, and the very first thing that jumped out to me in observe was his extraordinary passing,” Forbes says. “Man, the primary couple of weeks of observe, I’m like, holy s ***. He can actually go – and he likes to. ”
That second half turned out to be as necessary, if no more so, than the primary, as was evident on that game-winning help in opposition to Charlotte. And it ended up carrying all through the season, too; Williams posted the ACC’s finest help fee, per KenPom, and was No. 54 nationally in the identical respect. He maintained his effectivity as a scorer concurrently, averaging 0.946 factors per possession (PPP) general, per Synergy, however that quantity shot as much as 1,258 PPP once you think about assists as effectively.
“His passing is gonna translate, as a result of in house, he’s onerous to protect off the dribble and he’ll both get to the rim or discover open folks,” Forbes says. “I imply, he is actually good at that.”
The trick for Williams, who simply turned 23, to make it on the subsequent degree is sustaining that very same offensive pop with a decrease utilization fee… and by persevering with to take steps as a shooter. That Williams scored in addition to he did regardless of solely making 28.2 % of his 3s speaks to his potential to complete on the rim, however his shot-making has to proceed enhancing if he will turn into a dependable backcourt possibility. Right here, Forbes factors to the case of somebody like Al Horford – whom he coached in opposition to as an assistant at Tennessee when Horford was at Florida – as proof that 3-point enchancment is completely attainable beneath NBA teaching. Apart from missing consistency on his 3-point shot, turnovers are one thing else to observe with Williams; even taking his excessive utilization into consideration, he averaged 3.6 giveaways per sport, and in Wake Forest’s losses, a whopping 4.5.
Nonetheless, the promoting level right here is evident. Williams is a grown, bodily guard with scoring chops, courtroom imaginative and prescient, and a willingness to share the ball. How a lot he improves his relative shortcomings will decide what kind of function he has on the subsequent degree, however one factor is definite: Twice now in school, Williams has taken his sport to an entire new degree, stunning people within the course of.
(Picture: Jim Dedmon / USA Immediately)