Media Day Interviews: Williams, Walker, Vesely, Markieff Morris June 22, 2011
[Read Full Article] Situational Statistics: the 2011 Forward Crop June 19, 2011 Derrick Williams is the most highly touted prospect in this group, and his situational stats do nothing to diminish his standing.
Williams shouldered a heavy load for Arizona this season at 16.4 possessions per game (5th in this group), but was nevertheless the most efficient forward of the players we looked at, scoring 1.16 points per possession. That's especially impressive considering how heavily defenses keyed in on stopping him, how little playmaking Arizona had besides him, and the way in which he generated his offense.
In fact, Williams' offensive efficiency ranks higher than every other player in this draft besides Jon Diebler (1.3 PPP) and ironically enough, fellow #1 overall pick candidate Kyrie Irving (1.2).
The key to Williams' efficiency begins with his ability to get to the free throw line, where he knocks down 75% of his attempts. He got to the free throw line on over 1/4th of his possessions, which ranks 2nd in this draft behind Tristan Thompson.
Williams may not shoot the most jumpers of this group—only 25% of his shots come in this form-- a far cry from Kyle Singler and Robin Benzing at 63% or Chris Singleton at 56%-- but he makes more of the jumpers he does take (56%, or 1.6 points per shot) than anyone, and not by a small margin.
Williams appears to do a great job trusting Arizona's offense and waiting for good opportunities to come to him rather than hunting shots—something that his NBA coach will surely appreciate. Williams amazingly enough only took 5 pull-up jumpers all season, representing just 1% of his total offense.
This can be viewed as either a positive or a negative. On one hand he refused to settle for these low-percentage opportunities (which with the shorter 3-point line, are truly bad shots in the collegiate game). On the other hand, this may be a part of his game that he'll need to work on, particularly if he's expected to create offense from the perimeter in the NBA as heavily as he did in college.
Williams was indeed one of the most dangerous shot-creators in the college game amongst big men (he played almost all his minutes at Center at Arizona), scoring an outstanding 1.3 points per possession (#1) in isolation situations and getting fouled on nearly a third of his possessions (#1). By comparison, the next most effective isolation threat in this group, Kyle Singler, scored just .99 points per possession, getting to the free throw line at half the rate. None of the other first round prospects were anywhere near as effective.
This did come at the expense of turning the ball over on 16% of his possessions (3rd), though.
Williams' versatility shines through in the rest of his game, as he did an excellent job scoring in post-up situations (1.06 PPP), pick and roll finishes (1.37 PPP), and cuts (1.26). Some of the credit for this should go to Arizona's coaching staff, which obviously knew precisely how to exploit Williams' strengths and did a great job putting him in position to succeed. [Read Full Article] Analyzing the NBA Combine Athletic Testing Results May 27, 2011 Derrick Williams performed well in the bench press and was fairly average across the board apart from that. His 34.5' max vertical is respectable, and his speed was on par with the rest of the forwards in attendance. He isn't a freak physically—save for his tremendous highlight reel dunks off two feet-- but his athletic tools match what he does on the court effectively, and it's his much-improved skill-level that has gotten to him to where he is now. [Read Full Article] Analyzing the 2011 NBA Combine Measurements May 21, 2011 The closest comparison to Derrick Williams (6-7 ¼ without shoes, 7-1 ½ wingspan, 248 pounds) we can find in our database physically is former Georgetown standout DaJuan Summers (6-7 ¼ withough shoes, 7-0 ¾ wingspan, 243 pounds). Amongst power forwards drafted in the top-5 in recent seasons, Williams compares favorably to Michael Beasley (6-7 without shoes, 7-0 ¼ wingspan, 239 pounds), another player who was incredibly productive on the college level.
The Arizona product would rank right around average for a power forward in terms of physical tools, but measures out about an inch taller, weigh in 15 pounds heavier, and post a wingspan an inch longer than the average small forward in our database.
Looking at other small forwards drafted in the top-15 in our database, Williams would be the heaviest small forward picked since Rodney Rogers in 1993. Rogers didn't spend a significant time at the three-position as his career progressed. The next heaviest three drafted in that range was LeBron James, who tipped the scales at 245. By no means is it impossible to see Williams playing the small forward position full time at the next level, but he would rank as one of the more physically unique players we've seen there in some time.
Williams made major strides in his physical conditioning this season, but with a body fat percentage of 10.8 he could drop even more weight heading into his rookie season. Considering the transformation he underwent between his freshman and sophomore years, it will be interesting to see which direction his body heads on the NBA level.
[Read Full Article] Derrick Williams Video Breakdown April 18, 2011 Sebastian Pruiti takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Derrick Williams, with the help of Arizona game-film from this past season.
Watch in full screen mode by clicking button in upper right hand corner of video
- Outside Shooting: For his height, Derrick Williams might be one of the best shooters at his position, shooting 56.8% from the three point line on 74 attempts. He is also top six nationally in the two advanced shooting metrics, posting an eFG% of 65.0% (6th nationally) and a TS% of 69.0% (4th nationally). In terms of his form, Williams has a very smooth stroke that is easy to repeat, no matter if he is catching and shooting or taking a shot off of the dribble. He takes off and lands in the same area, and his footwork is very good.
- Isolation Scoring: According to Synergy Sports Technology, Derrick Williams is in the 96th percentile in terms of points per possessions in isolation situations, scoring about 1.130 per possession. Part of the reason Williams is so successful when he isolates his man is because he is quicker than most power forwards, but his defender can't play off of him because of his shooting ability. The threat of Williams taking and making an outside jumper forces defenders to close the gap and not give Williams any space. Because of this, Williams is able to use his speed to his advantage and take the basketball to the rim. Williams is also an above average ball handler and this lets him get to the rim with ease.
- Post Scoring: Once again, according to Synergy Sports Technology, Williams is in the 92nd percentile in terms of PPP in post-up situations, scoring 1.065 points per possession on 50% shooting. Williams does two things very well on the block. He establishes great position without the basketball and once he makes the catch he is able to quickly go up with it before the double team can get to him or before his defender can take advantage of Williams' lack of size.
- Turnovers: The biggest problem that I see with Williams on the offensive end is his tendency to turn it over in post up and isolation situations. Williams turns the ball over on 16% of halfcourt possessions. Where Williams runs into problems is when the defense collapses on him. Once that happens, Williams has a tendency to hold onto the basketball too long, and by the time he tries to get a pass away, there are three defenders on him.
- Defensive Rebounding: Where Williams lack of size really hurts him is on the defensive glass. In addition to getting caught watching the basketball and not holding his box out once in a while, Williams tends to get bullied around when the ball is in the air. The biggest example of that is when Williams gives up his inside position. Too many times, Williams gives up his position and lets his man get inside of him to the point it looks like he is the one trying to grab the offensive rebound. Add this lack of size to the fact that he doesn't really hold his box-outs and that means he isn't going to be grabbing as many rebounds as he should.
Williams has diversified his offensive game, improved his polish and carried Arizona to a 16-4 record, good for second place in the Pac-10.
Watching his film, the thing that stands out the most is how complete a scorer he's become. Williams is a nightmare for college coaches to gameplan for. He's able to shoot the ball from beyond the arc (knocking down an outrageous 70% of his attempts, on only about one make per game), operate effectively in the post, and create his own shot from the perimeter.
While his 3-point shooting percentages are likely to come down to Earth, and he may not be able to post up in the NBA at quite the same rate, Williams' ability to create shots in isolation situations -- where he ranks in the 99th percentile of college basketball players according to Synergy Sports Technology -- is a highly coveted skill that most certainly will translate to the next level.
Williams doesn't hesitate in anything he does on the basketball floor. He's an extremely fluid, decisive shot-creator. He's a quick thinker who transitions almost instantaneously into scoring mode as soon as he catches the ball (think Blake Griffin), showing amazing vision in reading defenses and finding holes to slither into.
The deadly combination he brings to the table with his quick first step, long strides, polished footwork and outstanding body control hasn't been seen in college basketball since Michael Beasley. Power forwards at this level simply have no way to slow him down, as evidenced by the incredible rate at which he gets to the free throw line. Better yet, he converts 76% of his attempts, up from 68% last season.
Not only can Williams create marvelously, he's also an excellent finisher. He's able to throw down emphatic dunks when given a head start and he shows the ability to contort his body and avoid contact in a manner more reminiscent of a wing player than a power forward.
He finishes with either hand, uses the glass extremely well and has a super soft touch that he uses to coax the ball into the basket from the most difficult of angles. Although he is prone to getting his shot blocked, Williams has such a quick second bounce that he's often able to rebound his own miss and go up immediately with a follow-up attempt, usually before the flat-footed defense can react.
While he's not the biggest player in this draft (he's likely to measure somewhere between 6-8 and 6-9), nor the longest, Williams' athleticsm, polished skills, high basketball IQ and fantastic scoring instincts are tools that NBA teams are in desperate need of these days. Smart, versatile power forwards who can create their own offense and score from anywhere on the floor are viewed by many as the second-most coveted players in the league right now after pick-and-roll point guards.
The fact that Williams has become such a proficient outside shooter helps quite a bit, as it allows him to act as an offensive floor spacer as well as a pick-and-pop option -- two areas we see him utilized in frequently at Arizona. He has a quick release, excellent mechanics and shoots the ball with a very high arc. His 3-point shooting is a part of his game that should translate to the NBA despite the limited amount of attempts (27 in 20 games) he's taken on the season. This mostly has to do with his excellent shot selection. You rarely see him force a bad look, and he appears to be a pretty good passer on top of that.
Defensively, Williams puts in a better effort than you typically see from a collegiate go-to guy. He does a good job of staying in front of opponents and shows strong fundamentals, as you would expect from a Sean Miller-coached player. He's usually in an attentive stance both on and off the ball and does his best to bother his matchup, even if he lacks the physical tools to be overly productive in terms of getting his team extra possessions. The aggressiveness he brings on this end will lead to some foul trouble on occasion, though, which is something that has limited his minutes at times this season.
Not incredibly tall or long compared with some of the elite power forwards in the NBA, and surely lacking the quickness or experience to guard the perimeter effectively, NBA teams may struggle to project him as being anything more than an average defender at best at the next level.
Williams' rebounding production has improved by nearly 20% this year on a per-minute basis, but that's more due to his work on the offensive glass -- where his terrific hands, excellent second bounce and outstanding instincts all play a major role -- than on the defensive end. He ranks toward the middle of the pack amongst NCAA power forward prospects as a defensive rebounder, something that's unlikely to improve at the NBA level based on what we can see.
Williams' productivity, coupled with the inconsistent performance of many highly-rated young prospects this season, has to be giving NBA scouts room for pause. While most people did not view him as a lottery pick going into the year (he was barely rated as a top 100 prospect coming out of high school) teams will have to start giving him strong consideration in the top 10 or even higher if he continues to play the way he has thus far. Williams will be getting looks from any team hoping to upgrade its offense at the power forward position, which happens to be the case with most of the worst teams in the NBA. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10, Part One (#1-5) September 20, 2010 Matthew Kamalsky
Last time we checked in on Derrick Williams, he was in the midst of an impressive rookie campaign that garnered him 2010 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors. Though his team finished with a disappointing 16-15 record, Williams solidified himself as one of the top power forwards on the West coast and a potential conference player of the year candidate heading into this season. As productive as Williams was as a freshman, he still has quite a bit more to prove, as he has some clear limitations as a NBA prospect.
When we checked in on Williams last December, we observed that while he has some physical tools that match up extremely well with his savvy interior play offensively, he's lacking in other areas. Williams shows good body control when finishing, uses his physical strength to get to the line at a simply phenomenal rate, and benefits from a long wingspan defensively, but could still stand to continue to maximize his frame and improve his lower body strength. The California native has good athleticism for a NBA power forward, even if he could stand to expand his offensive repertoire to mask his shortcomings on the next level.
Last season, Williams did the vast majority of his damage inside the key, with some two-thirds of his touches on the offensive end coming from cuts, post-ups, and offensive rebounds. Showing a great activity level, Williams does an excellent job working off his teammates, spacing the floor, showing impeccable timing flashing to the open area, and generally finding himself in the right place at the right time on more than a few occasions each game. Once Williams receives the ball, he immediately looks to attack his man with an aggressive dribble or pivot to position himself to score.
Arguably Williams' best asset on the offensive end at the college level is his ability to get to the foul line. He does a tremendous job seeking out and playing through contact, ranking amongst the top-5 players in our database in free throw attempts per-40 minutes pace adjusted. Though he's prone to getting his shot blocked on occasion, Williams does the little things to compensate for his lack of great leaping ability at the rim, shielding the ball with his body, scoring with either hand, playing the angles, and using the rim to screen potential blockers out of the play.
In terms of his ability to create his own shot and score in one-on-one situations, Williams flashes some advanced moves in the post, can create separation with his spin move attacking the left block off the dribble, and is able to be fairly effective with his back to the basket by virtue of his physicality and touch alone, but still has some room to grow. He does a solid job gaining position, but tends to set up a bit too far away from the rim on occasion, minimizing his excellent finishing ability and forcing himself to get creative to score.
Williams isn't a great ball handler on the move, but he puts the ball on the floor almost every time he touches the ball in a post-up situation. He's good at using his body to shield the ball from his defender, will surprise with his first step, can beat most centers and power forwards off the dribble at the college level, and doesn't turn it over at a high rate, but needs to continue polishing his footwork to become a more versatile post scorer in the traditional sense. Improving his court vision and becoming a better overall passer would also benefit him.
His ability to become more versatile on the whole boils down to his how consistent he can become as a shooter. Shooting 59.4% from inside the arc and a respectable 42% from the post, Williams proves to be very good at what he does offensively, ranking prominently in our database in true shooting percentage. An area of interest for NBA scouts this season will be the progress of his jump shot. Capable of knocking down shots from the midrange with time and space off the catch, Williams has a long release that isn't always terribly smooth and isn't an asset to him when he is defended. If Williams can improve his jumper, it would open up his game tremendously. He'd be able to convert more of the impressive number of free throws he produces each game, allow him to be a bigger threat when facing up, and afford him a much smoother transition to the NBA, where his strengths around the basket won't be as pronounced.
On the defensive end, Williams spends most of his time defending the post and sitting on the block when Arizona decides to drop into a zone. While he isn't a dynamic shot blocker and doesn't possess excellent defensive tools, Williams is able to find success thanks to his blend of toughness and fundamentals. Frequently defending the opposing team's center, Williams goes straight up almost every time his man puts up a shot in the post, and does a terrific job reacting to his man's moves in the post to not give up easy looks. His ability to stay in front of his man helps him on the glass, where his knack for not giving his man any angles compensates for the fact that he does have a great second bounce –something that limits him on the offensive glass.
Away from the rim, Williams does a good job pressuring bigger players and denying penetration, even if he falls victim to much quicker power forwards on occasion. Showing active hands, pursuing the ball off the rim, and rotating crisply to help his teammates, Williams is an excellent team defender on the college level, even if his lack of ideal size renders him just an average rebounder at this stage.
Though he was only a freshman last season, Williams showed a toughness and savvy to his game that one would expect from a much more seasoned player. He has a solid basketball IQ, and while he doesn't show a ton of emotion on the floor, proves to be a hard worker on both ends of the court. Though Williams spent quite a bit of time on the interior last season, his touch and innate ability to score in traffic make him a player to watch this season. Despite being a bit undersized, Williams is a premier college player with promises of an NBA future that could grow even brighter if he becomes a reliable midrange threat. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 12/18/09 December 18, 2009 Joey Whelan
It hasn't been an easy start to the season for Arizona fans, but one of the lone bright spots has been the quicker than expected contribution of freshman forward Derrick Williams. A nationally ranked prospect as a senior at La Mirada High School in California, the newest member of the Wildcats definitely had talent when he arrived on campus in the fall, but wasn't getting nearly as much attention as other Pac-10 rookies such as Abdul Gaddy and Tyler Honeycutt. So far though, Williams has been the cream of the crop out west, along with the aforementioned Reggie Moore.
A sturdy 6-8, 235-pound frame leaves Williams with adequate size and strength to operate inside at the college level, but his future as a pro may depend on his ability to develop the ability to operate more consistently as a perimeter presence. The forward is a good athlete, possessing solid quickness and leaping ability, and has excellent timing and body control around the basket. At this early stage in his development he spends the bulk of his time in the paint where he is obviously most comfortable, but he shows enough flashes of talent and smarts to indicate he can transition his game to the perimeter as well as he his continues to polish his skills.
The center position is where Williams spends most of his time at the moment. According to the data we have, nearly two-thirds of Williams' shot attempts come in the immediate vicinity of the rim, be it in the post, cutting without the basketball or crashing the offensive glass. His back to the basket game isn't particularly polished right now, but he is able to get by with his strength (relative to the opposition) and above average footwork. He likes to spin baseline a great deal, using his quick feet to get past his defender, often finishing with a smooth reverse lay in on the other side of the rim. When he does attempt to operate with more of a traditional post game, he doesn't exhibit any amazing post moves, but still finishes at a high rate of efficiency thanks to the excellent touch he displays. He gets to the free throw line at a very nice rate, converting 63% of his attempts.
Williams displays a good basketball IQ moving without the basketball, often creating easy shot attempts for himself by finding open spaces in the defense. Again, his ability to finish with contact helps him in this area.
These same issues manifest themselves on the offensive glass, where he is not particularly prolific (2.3 offensive rebounds per-40 minutes) and has plenty of issues converting opportunities using his second bounce. His less than ideal size for a frontcourt player often leaves him attempting difficult shots over taller and longer defenders, which is likely to become more of an issue at the next level.
As a perimeter player, Williams has a long ways to go in his stage of his development. He has a quick enough first step to take most power forwards (or centers) off the dribble, but needs to improve his ball-handling skills in order to continue to polish his shot-creating ability. The freshman shows the ability to put the ball on the floor and make his way to the basket, but can mostly only attack in a straight line right now. Adding the ability to change directions will make him a much more effective scoring option.
Developing a more effective mid-range game later on in his career will benefit him as well, particularly since he won't be jumping over many people in the NBA. Williams doesn't attempt many jumpers at all at this point, and has taken just two shots from beyond the arc all season, showing a long, slow release. The strides he is able to make as a shooter will likely play a big role in the type of prospect he can become down the road.
Defensively, Williams is a classic tweener. His size leaves him at a distinct disadvantage in the post, where bigger frontcourt players are able to back him down and shoot over him without a tremendous amount of difficulty. On the perimeter he is somewhat of a liability right now, as he possesses below average lateral quickness, and is forced to sag off his man quite a bit. While this prevents him from getting beaten off the dribble too often, it does leave him in a position where he is often late to close out on jumpers. Improving his ability to cover athletic forwards on the perimeter will benefit him.
It is definitely early in the evaluation process for Williams and it surely will be a couple of years before he can start contemplating the NBA as a possible option for the future. Still, the early returns for the Arizona freshman are promising, although somewhat inconsistent. In a couple of games he has been almost non-existent, but outings of 28 and 25 points against UNLV and Wisconsin are certainly nothing to sneer at. We'll have to wait and see how he develops his skill-set under Sean Miller in the next few seasons. [Read Full Article]