Louisville's Terrence Williams a candidate at No. 15Mr. Versatility
by Keith Langlois
EDITOR’S NOTE: Pistons.com continues its draft series with the eighth in a series of profiles of players who figure to be under consideration by the Pistons for their pick at No. 15 in the first round of the June 25 draft. Today’s installment looks at Louisville shooting guard Terrence Williams. AUBURN HILLS, Mich.
- When the topic is “America’s basketball hotbeds,” the usual suspects are New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. Over the past decade or so, a surprising new contender has emerged: Seattle, which doesn’t even have an NBA team of its own any longer.
Among the Seattle natives populating NBA rosters are young stars like Brandon Roy, Marvin Williams, Nate Robinson and Aaron Brooks. Jason Terry, another Seattle product, was the NBA Sixth Man of the Year this season. The Pistons know well the virtues of the Seattle prep scene, plucking Rodney Stuckey with the 15th pick of the 2007 NBA draft.
Two years later, again armed with the 15th pick, the Pistons could once more be turning to Seattle for a talent infusion – a former AAU acquaintance of Stuckey’s, Louisville senior swingman Terrence Williams.
Williams fits the profile of the modern NBA shooting guard ideally athletically and by the tape measure. He checked out at a shade better than 6-foot-6 at the Chicago predraft camp and is well packaged at 213 pounds. He has a 37-inch vertical leap. He can handle the ball. He’s the best perimeter rebounder available in the draft.
Yet opinions on Williams seem to be all over the map. While some feel he could go as high as No. 7 to Golden State, others feel he’ll still be on the board when the Pistons pick – and could last several more picks after that. There are rumblings that Williams represents a character risk, yet he managed to stay trouble-free in four seasons under Rick Pitino.
Scouts also have that to weigh – the four years he spent in college. While some see it solidly as a plus, others wonder why Williams never seemed to achieve a level of consistency on par with his experience. His final act underscores that concern: Against Michigan State, in a game that would have sent the No. 1-seeded Cardinals to the Final Four, Williams shot 1 of 7 and finished with five points.
Yet there were many games where he filled up the stat sheet, none more so than when he had 24 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists in a win over Notre Dame. Many felt that he was the one player in a Big East loaded with NBA prospects who most consistently would have an impact on games.
Williams’ scoring comes and goes. He shot just .431 from the field, and while he showed a decent stroke from the 3-point arc (.385), he has been a very poor foul shooter, shooting .612 or worse in all four college seasons. In 34 minutes a game as a senior, he averaged 12.5 points and 8.6 rebounds and had a fine assist-to-turnover ratio of better than 2:1.
There’s also this for scouts to analyze: Was Williams’ modest scoring total an indication that he didn’t have the capacity to shoulder the scoring load for his college team, or was it reflective of the quality of Louisville’s lineup, which included at least one other lottery candidate in Earl Clark and two or three other young players who could one day crack an NBA roster?
The Pistons did confirm that Williams was one of the players they brought in for a workout in May, so they saw enough from him during his Louisville career – Joe Dumars and vice president Scott Perry flew to Louisville to scout the UConn game as Williams scored 26 in a 17-point loss, in addition to the many times he was seen by personnel director George David – to determine they wanted a full evaluation.
Williams probably would fill a role similar to Arron Afflalo – the ability to guard all three perimeter positions and play at least two of them, shooting guard and small forward, on the offensive end. The presence of Afflalo might argue against essentially duplicating him by selecting Williams, but the Pistons go into the summer without enough roster uncertainty that they could truly be taking a “best player available” approach to this draft – and Williams is talented enough that he might just qualify.
Selling Points – Prototypical size and measurables for an NBA shooting guard. … Extremely versatile player who can defend and handle the ball. … Though he spent four years in college, still just 21. … Rebounding for his position is a real plus.
Buyer Beware – Teams will need to explore in depth the sources of concern over character to determine validity. … Can the erratic nature of his shooting be corrected with coaching and repetition? … An asset in transition, but can he also be one in a half-court game? … Decision-making has been an issue.