In terms of physical attributes, Williams is one of the more intriguing wing small forwards in this draft. He has outstanding height at just a shade under 6-9 with a terrific wingspan and standing reach, and his frame shows plenty of potential to play either the 3 or the face-up 4 position depending on the direction he decides to head in. As an athlete, the best way to describe him would be smooth. Williams is not terribly explosive, but he gets to where he needs to on the floor and is quick off his feet to finish with a dunk or pull down a rebound.
Offensively, Williams has terrific potential as a mismatch threat. His size and the high release point and elevation he gets on his shot means that he will be able to get his shot off almost whenever he pleases, as well as the quickness in which he gets his shot off. Although he is anything but a consistent shooter from long range at this point in his career, there is plenty of reason to believe that he will become a fine outside shooter if he puts the work in. He was used mostly as a pick and pop threat at the collegiate level; and this is what his role in the NBA projects at as well. Whether it was from the high or low post, Williams consistently showed the ability to use his height to see the entire floor and find the open man with his terrific passing skills.
Thanks to his height and length, Williams has nice potential as an all-around stat-stuffer and has put together some nice lines in college with steals, blocks, rebounds and assists.
Considering the direction the NBA is heading towards, players like Williams are en vogue these days. Only being a freshman, he still has plenty of upside to continue to improve.
Williams played the power forward position in college and is still a bit stuck between positions as far as the NBA is concerned. This comes to play the most in his slashing and perimeter defense.
Williams is a bit averse to putting the ball on the floor and will rarely take it all the way to the basket. When he did in college, his dribble looked high and out of control at times, as he doesnt get very low to the ground and lacks a bit of body control to finish in traffic in the lane.
Instead of taking the ball strong at the hoop, Williams has a tendency to settle for tough fadeaway jump-shots off the dribble, showing poor shot selection and really hurting his field goal percentage. He finished the season shooting 41% from the field and just 32% from behind the college 3-point line, but that did not stop him from attempting nearly five 3-pointers per game. While his shooting mechanics are very pretty, he leaps and lands forward on almost all of his shot attempts.
Learning how to use his size and length better to get higher percentage shots around the basket will help him become a more versatile player. His footwork in general needs to improve, whether its on the perimeter offensively and defensively or inside the paint to score over smaller defenders. He does not appear to be the most physical player in this draft, often shying away from contact.
Defensively, there are some questions marks regarding Williams ability to defend the perimeter. His lateral quickness is just average and his awareness on this end of the floor is less than ideal, often losing his focus and not always being terribly committed to staying in front of his man. Experience is a major factor here, as concepts like hedging a screen or rotating over on help defense are not things he particularly excels at. Like all Memphis players, he had a tendency to gamble for steals.
Despite only being a freshman, Williams is the same age as some juniors in this draft class, as he spent a year at prep school getting eligible for college after finishing high school.
Williams was a highly touted high school player that did not make the cut for college right away and was forced to go to prep school at Laurinburg prep for a year. He joined Memphis for one season and looked to be on his way to contending for freshman of the year honors after an incredibly hot start, cumulated with a 21 point (5-7 3P), 7 rebound, 4 assist performance against UCLA and a 15 point, 8 rebound outing against Duke, both in the preseason NIT in November. He faded significantly once the in-conference portion of Memphis schedule begun, which was ironically substantially weaker than the murderers row they faced early on in the year. He finished the year averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds per game.
After an inconsistent freshman season, Williams decided to declare for the draft and eventually ended up hiring an agent after hearing that his stock looks fairly solid for the first round. This didnt come as a huge surprise considering that Williams has always seemed to have the NBA on his mind since emerging as a top high school player, and even considered declaring after his one year at Laurinburg before coming up extremely flat in the high school all-star games. Some experts say that Williams is a strong candidate to be drafted in the top-20, with much of this having to do with how strongly Memphis coach John Calipari is supporting him through the media. Where he ends up landing is anyones guess in what appears to be one of the crazier drafts in recent memory. The team that drafts him will need to have patience, as the word project has come up following many of his private NBA workouts.