Shelden Williams

Shelden Williams profile
Drafted #5 in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Hawks
RCSI: 9 (2002)
Height: 6'8" (203 cm)
Weight: 258 lbs (117 kg)
Position: PF/C
High School: Midwest City High School (Oklahoma)
Hometown: Forest Park, OK
College: Duke
Current Team: Tianjin
Win - Loss: 20 - 29


NBA Scouting Reports: Filling in the Blanks- Power Forwards (Part 1)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Aug 25, 2009, 11:41 am
Overview:Undersized for either post spot, but blessed with a 7-4.25 wingspan and excellent physical strength, especially in his upper body. Proves to be pretty mobile, but isn’t terribly explosive or terribly smooth. Has had all kinds of problems staying on the court during his NBA career, but has proven to be a capable rebounder. Improved statistically during each of his seasons at Duke, primarily by cutting down on his fouls, but was the same bruising forward back in his days at Midwest City HS (OK). Two time ACC and NCAA Defensive Player of the Year. First Team All-American as a senior. Despite being considered more of a finished product and having a lower ceiling than other prospects, he was tabbed by the Hawks as the fifth overall pick in 2006. No one needed hindsight at the time to realize that Atlanta reached badly for him, which likely ultimately cost Billy Knight his job. Has appeared on four rosters in three seasons, limiting the continuity around him and making it harder for him to translate his game to the NBA. A cautionary tale of how productivity on the highest levels of college hoops don’t always translate to the NBA. Hasn’t been terribly lucky in terms of the situations he’s been placed in either. Clearly will not be able to live up to his draft position, and needs to use his audition with the Celtics to solidify himself as a legit NBA player. Faces an uphill battle with a dearth of bigmen ahead of his on the depth chart and only a one-year deal. Married to WNBA superstar Candace Williams.

Offense: Not an ideal scoring threat due to a lack of efficiency. No longer gets even a quarter of the shots he did while playing at Duke. Has had a hard time transitioning his game to a significantly smaller role. Still bring some tools to the table. Offensive rebounding ability earns him some easy shots at the rim, as does his off-ball movement and low-post scoring ability. Has not finished at the rim with very good consistency, having a hard time dealing with more athletic defenders. Often winds up adjusting his short range shots, leading to misses. Shows some solid moves in the post, which isn’t surprising considering what he did at Duke. Not able to bully his way into ideal position to score, making it hard for him to score, even when he’s gotten himself open with a series of shot-fakes and drop steps. Draws contact at a good rate, earning himself some trips to the line. Not a bad catch and shoot option, showing nice rhythm and consistent form on his midrange jumper. Doesn’t get too many chances to take shots from the outside. Has a flat release and doesn’t elevate much, which is an issue for him at times. Often a liability when he puts the ball on the floor, not showing the quickness to beat his man to the rim and often dribbling into traffic. Has had a rough go of transitioning his power based offensive game to the NBA where more athletic shot blockers are able to stay in the play well enough to put him out of his comfort zone. Aggressive mentality helps him at times, but his lack of post efficiency is a major concern, as his conversion rate detracts from what he offers in other areas.

Defense: Strong defender with good length whose tendency to aggressively defend short range shots and dribble drives make him extremely foul prone. Extremely good at holding position in the post due to his willingness to bang bodies on every play. Won’t get tossed around by the average big man. Will get a little too aggressive fighting for space on the block. Will get beaten to the rim on occasion, and will have his share of issues with the more explosive athletes at his position. Shows nice defensive awareness when defending the perimeter, knowing his limitations in terms of lateral quickness, using his length to contest shots and give himself a cushion, and showing a good stance. Willing to get on the floor and fight for the ball. Quite a shot blocker for his height, showing good timing, but lacks the size and spring to consistently reject shots. Boxes out well and aggressively pursues rebounds. Shows solid hands when looking to come up with steals or when cleaning the glass.

Las Vegas Summer League Day Two

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Jul 13, 2008, 10:18 pm
Today’s game was a tale of two halves for Williams. In the first half, he failed to stand out, struggling to get the job done against the lesser players on Toronto’s front line. In the second, he returned to the form that made him seem like a promising player during his time with the Hawks. He is a force around the basket due to his ability to hold post position, and used a couple of nice up and under moves to get to the line consistently. Williams loves contact, and thrives at finishing and ones. At this point, Williams can’t afford the lapses that he showed in the first half. He needs to show that he has developed from the point he was at two years ago. It seems like last season really stunted his growth.

NBA Pre-Draft Camp Media Day (Part One)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Jonathan Watters
Jonathan Watters
Jun 10, 2006, 10:23 pm
Jonathan Givony: You guys had the physicals and measurements today. How did you measure out?

Shelden Williams: I think 6-7 ¾.

Jonathan Givony: Without shoes?

Shelden Williams: Yes.

Jonathan Givony: So a solid 6-9.

Shelden Williams: Yeah, just under 6-9.

Reporter: What are you weighing these days?

Shelden Williams: Probably about 250.

Reporter: Have you been putting on a lot of muscle?

Shelden Williams: I haven’t really been playing up and down like we did during the season. There is a lot of half-court stuff so we haven’t really been working out as much as we usually work out.

Jonathan Givony: How many teams have you worked out for so far?

Shelden Williams: About 6 teams.

Jonathan Givony: Remember which ones?

Shelden Williams: Houston, Golden State, Utah, Oklahoma, Seattle, Boston.

Jonathan Givony: Which one do you think went the best?

Shelden Williams: I think they all went pretty well. I worked out for those 6 teams and, you know, they all went pretty well.

Jonathan Givony: How does the NBA private workout setting suit your individual skills? Do you feel like you are more of a five on five guy, or does two on two suit you well too?

Shelden Williams: Well there is no five on five or two on two. It’s just a matter of positioning anyway, and I think that with me being a four year player they have a pretty good idea of what I can do. So they didn’t have us do something out of our expectations. I think that by them knowing that I can go up against centers, that helped me out a lot.

Jonathan Givony: How was your jumper been falling for you lately? Is that something you’ve been working on?

Shelden Williams: I mean, that’s something I’ve always had, I just never had a chance to showcase it because we have such great shooters out on the perimeter. Most teams have been surprised by how well I can shoot. That’s something that I’ve shown teams and they’ve been surprised by.

Jonathan Givony: How tough is it for you to hear from people that you have no upside?

Shelden Williams: I really don’t read into all that stuff. I just go out there and people know what to expect from me. I’ve been on TV 13 times every year for four years. People know how I play and how aggressive and hard I am. So I really don’t read into what people have to say about potential or upside or anything like that.

Jonathan Givony: How much room do you personally think you have to continue to improve?

Shelden Williams: It really depends on what team I go to. Whatever system I fit in, that will decide on how much I can improve in that system. No one can really say how much they can improve because like I said, it really depends on how well you fit into whatever system you get drafted into.

Jonathan Givony: How do you think Duke is going to do next year?

Shelden Williams: Duke is always pretty well off. That’s a program that keeps on reloading, they never rebuild, they just reload. They have some great talent coming in and I expect some big things from them again.

Jonathan Givony: Did Josh Mcroberts talk to you about the draft?

Shelden Williams: He was thinking about it, but he thought that he isn’t ready for it and that he could really use a second year.

Jonathan Givony: Thanks Shelden. I appreciate it.

NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Sweet Sixteen, Thursday games)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Mar 24, 2006, 04:15 am
Shelden Williams finished his career on a positive note, despite the fact that Duke was eliminated from the NCAA tournament. Williams had stretches of dominance on both the offensive and defensive end, having his way with a slew of LSU frontcourt players. Even Glen Davis, who had a strength advantage on Williams on paper, wasn’t able to keep up with him. Williams wasn’t able to use his power against Davis on the offensive end, being unable to back him down or establish good position, so he adjusted and used his intelligence and finesse. Either he would lose Davis on screens to get open in the lane or use his vast array of post moves to create a shot for himself. Williams used up and under moves, drop steps, hooks across the lane, turnaround jumpers, and even a jumpshot from long range on one occasion to score on Davis and the rest of LSU. When Davis wasn’t in the game, Williams had a much easier time establishing position in the post, being able to use his power in addition to finesse. Even when Williams couldn’t put the ball in the hole, he was usually able to grab his own rebound and pass it out to a teammate.

On the defensive end, Williams played strong man and team defense. There weren’t many occasions when someone scored on Williams in the post, let alone even tried to. Williams also had quite a few blocks and other weakside-help stops. Whether he was making a rotation down low or stepping up to help on the perimeter, Williams was making his presence felt. Williams was also very consistent with boxing out on both ends of the floor, rarely letting his man get a chance at a rebound.

Just as impressive as any aspect of Williams’ game has to be his overall feel for the game. Williams plays within himself, understands his strengths and weaknesses, and just plays intelligently in every aspect of the game. He recognizes double teams very well and knows how to handle them accordingly. He has excellent weakside awareness and almost always makes the proper rotation. As evidenced tonight, he knows how to adjust his methods of post scoring to be most effective against his opponent. There were very few negatives for Williams on the night, and the only things that really stood out were two traveling violations in the post, though both were of questionable veracity from my viewpoint.

Williams is a senior and will thus be entering the NBA draft this summer. He will undoubtedly be a lottery pick and should be able to contribute for his team from day one. He’s somewhat of a known commodity at this point, with most of his game being developed through his four years at Duke. There isn’t much more “upside” for Williams, but he should be a steady contributor for a long time in the NBA.

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Saturday games)-- Stock UP

Rodger Bohn
Rodger Bohn
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Watters
Jonathan Watters
Mar 19, 2006, 03:35 am
Another day, another excellent performance from possibly the steadiest player in America. Williams was involved in trench warfare all day long in the painted area on both ends of the floor, and came out the clear winner both individually as well as one the scoreboard when the dust settled. He did nothing new that knocked our socks off, but just got the job done by continuing to do what he’s been doing all year long on his way to being picked in the lottery this June.

As always, it started with his defense. Despite getting some favorable non-calls that he really didn’t need, Williams dominated on this end of the floor with his outstanding combination of strength and fundamentals. He blocked 7 shots and altered countless others, hit the glass like a man possessed and made sure that any GW player that came in the post will be sorry about it when they wade up tomorrow.

Offensively, Williams was his regular super-solid self. He ran the floor hard in transition and was rewarded for it on numerous occasions by freshman stud point guard Greg Paulus, and either finished efficiently around the basket in half-court sets or got to the free throw line. Once at the charity stripe, he knocked down all 9 of his free throws.

Again, nothing new here, instead just reaffirming to us that Williams is on his way to a long and productive NBA career as a solid role-player who could help any team in the league right now.

Shelden Williams NBA Draft Scouting Report

Jan 12, 2006, 02:48 am
Listed at 6-9 in shoes, Williams has average size for an NBA power forward, but makes up for that with his chiseled frame, warriors mentality and extremely long wingspan (rumored to be somewhere around 7-2). He will be able to hold his own in the paint immediately defensively and in terms of rebounding, and will do some damage offensively as well against weaker or softer opponents. He is a solid athlete that runs the floor extremely well and gets off the ground quickly to challenge shots, sky for rebounds and finish emphatically with powerful dunks.

Offensively, his game is based around hard work and brute strength rather than a finesse approach. He has been a center at Duke for all four years, and plays like your traditional back to the basket pivot. He runs the floor extremely hard and finishes well on the break. Williams sets terrific screens and is a solid target on the pick and roll, improving his hand-eye coordination dramatically over the past few years and becoming a very steady presence for passes and easy finishes around the basket. Williams uses his lower body strength to the fullest at the college level to carve out space for himself, bump his man and work his way to the basket for a strong finish. He shows solid footwork, a simple, but effective jump-hook shot, and decent touch around the rim.

Williams gets to the free throw line at a solid rate (6.7 times per game on the season at the time of this report) and has made himself into a very decent free throw shooter at the stripe. He’s gone from shooting 63% as a freshman to 76% as a senior, a testament of his work ethic.

He’s improved substantially as a passer over the past four years, going from being a semi-black hole who is completely unable to pass out of the post when double-teamed to an average passer at the moment.

Being your consummate garbage-man, possibly his best traits as a player revolve around his hustle skills, specifically his defense and rebounding. He has a great knack for being in the right place at the right time, and does not make many mistakes.

Thanks to his strength, length, fundamental technique, tenacity and timing, Williams is an outstanding rebounder at the college level, leaving us very little reason to believe that this skill will not translate to the pros. He will go out and get rebounds out of his area as well, regardless of who or what is in the way. He has a certain knack for anticipating that all great rebounders do.

Defensively he is extremely reliable as well, thanks to his work ethic and fundamentals. His lateral quickness and footwork are terrific, allowing him to stay in front of his man. His length and athleticism come in handy, but he also displays fantastic timing blocking shots, staying out of foul trouble for the most part and routinely being amongst the top 10 shot-blockers in the country despite the level of competition he goes up against compared with his peers in this area. He does not leave his feet prematurely (and therefore does not expose his team for offensive rebounds) and is smart enough to keep many of his blocked shots in-bounds rather than swatting them into the 2nd row. He hedges and recovers extremely well defending the pick and roll, and displays solid understanding of the team defense concept in general. Williams makes his teammates better in this area by giving them the freedom needed to gamble on steals and get up on their man knowing that the Landlord has their back guarding the paint. While his shot-blocking might not translate 100% over to the NBA (a la Emeka Okafor), his terrific all-around defensive ability most certainly will.

Playing for one of the top programs in the country over the past four years, he’s been involved in as many big games and pressure filled situations as any player in college basketball, and for the most part performed extremely well. He is a smart player who plays under control and is very team oriented. The experience he’s garnered here will be invaluable over his career, as he’s the type of guy that should be able to step on to an NBA floor and contribute immediately.

In terms of intangibles, Williams is a coachable player who has shown the work ethic needed to make necessary improvements in all facets of his game over the past 4 years. He’s a reliable player who knows his role and does exactly what the coach asks him to do. His court demeanor is solid and he’ll likely be a solid citizen off the floor as well.

Measurements will be key for Williams. Anything below the 6-9 he is listed at could drop his stock. Athletically, he is extremely solid but definitely not a freak, especially compared with other NBA players at his position. He is not the quickest player in the world nor the most explosive, not being the type that will soar for attractive put-back dunks or blocks like Marcus Camby or just blow by his man like Amare Stoudemire.

Offensively he is a bit robotic in his movements, not being the most fluid player in the world and often looking a bit mechanical in certain things he does. He often relies too much on his strength to score around the paint, not having too much finesse to his game. Most of his points come off layups, dunks, free throws and short jump-hook shots around the basket. It’s unlikely that he will be able to maintain the same scoring production at the NBA level where everyone is bigger, more athletic and often just as strong as he is. The lack of legit size and skill in NCAA is a concern when you try to project him to the NBA, as he is truly a man amongst boys. At times will try to force his way to the hoop using his brute strength, either traveling in the process or being called for an offensive foul.

His face-up game in general is extremely unpolished, being a center in a power forward’s body for the most part, maybe even a tweener. He has shown very little ability to shoot the ball outside of 15 feet, although this is just not his role at Duke so it’s hard to get a very accurate read on this. His ball-skills are just as raw. He dribbles with his head down, looking very stiff. You really don’t want him doing much ball-handling outside of 12 feet, but he has never really had to in his career.

Comparing the player Williams was as a junior to the one we see as a senior, there aren’t really that many noticeable differences. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he is fairly close to reaching his maximum potential as a player. Playoff teams or teams on the cusp of making the playoffs won’t mind that that much, since Williams is a 6-9 warrior that is ready to come in and battle for them immediately, but GMs drafting in the mid-high lottery who are looking to swing for the fences for a homerun pick could decide to shy away in their never-ending search for a player to build a team around. That’s the probably the worst thing you could say about Williams, he’s a role player in every sense of the word.

Williams plays in an ACC conference that has been at, or near the top of the college basketball world in terms of the level of competition he’s gone up against throughout his NCAA career. His team goes deep into the tournament every single year and is an odds-on favorite to make the final four this season.

This season Williams has had mixed results going up against the top big men on his team’s schedule. In a road win at Indiana early in the season he was manhandled by the smaller Marco Killingsworth on his way to a career high 34 points on 15-20 shooting, fouling Williams out on the way. Against fellow ACC big man Eric Williams of Wake Forest, Shelden was limited by foul trouble, only playing 17 minutes and seeing the other Williams score 17 points on 6-9 shooting. Duke won that game handily on the road. In an earlier matchup with potential top-5 pick LaMarcus Aldridge (see links section for an article describing this game in depth), Williams was the clearcut winner and not by a small margin, scoring 23 points with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks. Aldridge got his points, but it was mostly in garbage-time when the result was never in doubt. A rare triple-double (the first in his career) in a 24 point shellacking of arch-rivals Maryland might be the most impressive stat-line he’s put up in his college career, finishing with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks and 3 assists.

Easily being the most polished and accomplished big man in this draft, Williams is virtually a lock to be drafted in the 1st round barring a disaster. A team in dire need of inside help and especially his rebounding and defensive skills such as Chicago or Atlanta could decide to take a look at him in the mid-lottery should their picks remain in that area. He could just as well be drafted in the late lottery or at worst the late teens as things look right now early on in the season.

In all liklihood will finish his career as the all-time leading shotblocker at Duke, ahead of Mike Gminski. Has a chance to finish as Duke's all-time leading rebounder depending on how far they go in the tournament and how well he finishes off the season.

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