Ranked as the 44th best player by the RSCI in 2011
, Amir Williams has struggled somewhat to live up to the expectations of being named a McDonald's All-American. While part of this can be attributed to being behind several strong frontcourt players, including Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, much of it is due to Williams' lack of production when he is on the court as well as his overall development. Entering his senior season, Williams will look to elevate his game and market himself to NBA scouts for the 2015 NBA Draft.
Physically, Williams looks the part of a NBA center as he was last measured at 6'10 with a 72 wingspan, and is currently listed by Ohio State at 6-11. However, the rest of his physical tools are that electrifying, as he doesn't have elite quickness or explosiveness for a player of his size. While he isn't the fastest big man, he is able to move up and down the floor with ease, thanks to his long strides. He also has room to add bulk to his 250 pound body, but shouldn't have a problem do considering his frame. He will need some added strength to compete with NBA players of his size but he has solid length and height to be an interior presence at the next level.
Not a very prolific scorer, Williams' most used offensive possessions are post-ups, according to Synergy Sports Technology, accounting for 29.5% of his offense. He is fairly efficient in these situations, shooting 52.9% on his 79 attempts. While he doesn't demonstrate advanced footwork on a regular basis, he shows flashes of nice moves against quality defenders, including a dangerous hook shot and drop step. He struggles at times to read the defense and develop moves based on how the defense is playing, as well as reacting to the initial defense played against him. If he wants to become a useful post scorer at the next level, he will need to continue to develop his footwork to be more comfortable beating his defender while developing counter moves to round out his post-game.
Williams will never be a relied upon scorer, so his ability to finish around the rim will be key. Last season, Williams scored on 63.3% of his 109 attempts around the rim, according to Synergy Sports Technology, an excellent mark. Williams could do a better job of absorbing contact and getting to the line, as his 5.5 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted is mediocre for a player primarily playing on the interior. Finishing through contact will be a necessary skill in the NBA, so showing this in his senior season could really improve his draft stock.
Despite his height, Williams is just an average rebounder as his 4.1 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted
and his 6.1 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted
are just average marks when compared to other centers. Williams has struggled with a low motor throughout his career and it has manifested in low rebound totals, as he doesn't always attack the glass and fight for loose balls. Williams has potential to be a much better rebounder on both ends of the court and NBA teams will want to see him focus on becoming a dominant rebounder this season, as this will be a role he will likely be asked to fill for NBA teams.
Defensively, Williams is a bit of a mixed bag. He doesn't provide much energy, which leads to plays with his long arms at his side for the duration of the possession or giving up on plays after the offensive player is past him. He is a decent shot blocker though, blocking 3.1 shots per 40 minutes pace adjusted last season. Williams also has a tendency to get bullied on the block, as he is not as strong as other NBA caliber centers at this point. He struggles at times with defensive concepts and positioning, which is only made worse by his poor motor. Showing a more committed effort to defense, including providing energy on a more consistent basis, will be something NBA scouts will look for from Williams.
Overall, Williams has some clear potential as a NBA player but it currently rests mainly on his physical tools. He will need to show that he has basketball skills to match his athleticism and can fulfill a role at the next level. Heading into his senior season, Williams will need to show some clear areas of improvement as well as bringing more energy in his minutes to show NBA scouts he is capable of playing a role at the next level. If he can do so, he will begin picking up more draft buzz as we move toward the 2015 NBA Draft.