Marcus Williams (UConn) NBA Draft Scouting Report
Mar 21, 2006, 04:39 am
Williams has excellent size for an NBA point guard at 6-3, with a very well built body that allows him to take contact and maintain his poise and balance in tough situations. He has huge hands that help him both control the ball masterfully as well as make impossible passing angles look simple. Williams steering paws combined with his peripheral vision allow him to whip the ball using impossible angles to the sides or behind him with a quick swoop and great accuracy when other point guards would struggle getting the ball off their finger tips.
Many consider Williams to be the best pure point guard in the country because of the poise he shows running UConns offense as well as his unselfishness, outstanding court vision and passing ability. He easily tops the point guard prospect rankings in assist to turnover ratio with a 2.42 average, coming in at 8.5 assists per game compared with 3.5 turnovers despite the fact that he was not available for the usually cupcake non-conference schedule that most point guards use to pad their stats.
Williams sees things on the floor in half-court sets that most point guards dont and reacts to them instantaneously rather than waiting for plays to develop. Hes perfected the art of the ideal pass down to a science, showing a wonderful assortment of styles and outstanding creativity in the process. The lost art of the post-entry pass is absolute cake for him, using quarterback to wide-receiver style lobs, fundamental bounce passes, full-court heaves or the more modern and ballsy two-handed alley-oop chest pass right to the rim.
Williams loves to push the tempo of the game, so naturally in transition is where his stripes as a point guard really come out, as he organizes the break wonderfully, makes spectacular passes to his incredibly athletic frontcourt look easy, and knows how to put the ball in the cup himself if the pass isnt there. He rarely gets rattled and usually makes the best possible decision available to him here.
No point guard in the country knows his teammates strengths better than Williams does. He distributes the ball exactly the way Coach Jim Calhoun would want him to, rewarding his teammates after a strong rebound or nice defensive play with an easy bucket the next time down the floor to ensure they remain happy, keeping the morale of the team high in the process by making sure that everyone puts in maximum effort for every second they are on the court. Thats not easy when you have as much talent as UConn does this year, but Williams does a great job making sure everyone gets involved, particularly when it comes to his big men, who might otherwise starve for touches on most NCAA teams.
No legit point guard prospect would be complete without outstanding ball-handling skills, and this is a part of his game that hes improved remarkably in over the past few years. The left-handed Williams dribbles the ball confidently with either hand, always under control, averaging a surprisingly low number of turnovers considering the number of high risk passes he makes, largely due to the fact that he does not make many unforced errors handling the ball.
Williams possesses a strong crossover that he uses to break down defenses, get his man off-balance and give himself space to get into the lane, a move that he executes wonderfully when his teams half-court offense breaks down. In these instances he rarely gets fazed, being very patient making his way into the lane, taking his time, always with his head up surveying everything around him and doing a fantastic job of getting the ball to his athletic teammates approaching the rim for the easy two points. He has some shiftiness to his game here, changing gears, utilizing hesitation moves, throwing head-fakes or using screens to get by his man, which is a bit tougher for him considering his average first step.
As the season has progressed hes done a better job at going all the way to the rim (particularly going left) and finishing himself using his excellent strength, something that was absolutely necessary since some teams will prefer to play him this way rather than rotate and let Williams find the open man on the drive and dish, which as noted he is brilliant at.
In other facets of his offensive game, Williams has shot the ball pretty well from 3-point range over the last two seasons, although this is something GMs will want to look more closely at in private workouts considering his limited amount of attempts. As a sophomore he shot a little over 40% from behind the arc on only two attempts per game, and as a junior he sits at 38% on about 2.5 attempts at the time of this report heading into the Sweet 16.
At the free throw line Williams is excellent, being exactly the type of player you want to have with the ball in his hands in late-game situation. Hes improved his free throw shooting from 72% as a sophomore to 84.5% as a junior, being especially impressive in clutch/pressure-packed circumstances.
In terms of his intangibles, we find mostly a mixed bag. On one hand Williams appears to be an extremely crafty player who understands the game, realizes his role, follows instructions and is an outstanding teammate both on and off the court. Experience-wise, he has competed and played well at the highest level of college basketball for the past three years despite the fact that hes been ineligible for large chunks of that time. He has noticeably improved throughout his three years at UConn, actually being closer to playing only two full seasons because of academic and off the court issues.