Name: Patrick Williams
Measurables: 6’8″, 225 lbs, 6’11” wingspan
College/International Team: Florida State University
I’ll forgive you if you haven’t heard of Patrick Williams before – he was a one-year player at Florida State who didn’t start a single game in his freshman season. However, he got the national recognition he deserved as he was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and also named the ACC Sixth Man of the Year. Williams was a force for the Seminoles on both ends of the floor despite what his limited playing time may suggest. He possesses an impressive combination of size, strength, and length that makes him a standout athlete in this draft class. Those traits were particularly impactful on the defensive end where Williams was a force for FSU, especially in off-ball defense. He made some impressive reads to provide weakside defense and covers a lot of ground as he rotates onto open shooters. He showcased a ton of defensive versatility at Florida State with his ability to guard various positions and play styles, but I do have some concern about his limited foot speed and footwork. He has a tendency to get caught out of position too often and gambles too much as he over-rotates or shoots the passing lane. However, he does have some very good verticality and should be a solid rim protector in the future. Williams needs to work on his discipline and mechanics, but all of the raw traits are there to suggest he can be a future high-level NBA defender.
Williams also has some impressive offensive traits that I wasn’t quite expecting when I started scouting him. In the post, his combination of strength and size make him a formidable presence while his length and high motor make him a constant threat on the offensive glass. His anticipation is also exceptional as he reads and reacts to shot attempts to secure offensive rebounds. Williams is also a solid catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter and has some potential to add some range as he develops. His 83.8% free-throw rate this past season suggests plenty of long-term shooting upside. His mid-range offense is already a major asset as he is very capable of producing his own offense off the dribble and has a strong face-up shooting game. His balance and footwork in the mid-range offense are one of the best examples of his elite upside as he looks like an NBA veteran at times when he’s scoring the ball inside the 3-point line. Williams also has high upside as a ball-handler and was surprisingly adept in running pick-and-roll sets this past season. He’s still just 19 years old and flashes an elite collection of skills that he can add to his already impressive baseline that comes from his high motor and size/strength combination.
Great combination of strength and size
High-level help defender and versatile defender
Excellent verticality, great rim protector
High effort and drive make him a part of every play on the court, never gives up
Great at reading passing lanes and intercepting balls, leaves him out of position occasionally
Excellent offensive rebounder, high motor, and anticipation to find loose balls
Solid catch-and-shoot outside shooter, takes too much time to get to release sometimes
Flashed a high-upside dribble-drive game, can take 1-2 dribbles and shoot or get to the rim
Confident face-up shooter in the high post
Good balance and footwork on mid-range shots
High upside as secondary ball-handler, surprisingly adept in pick-and-roll sets
Limited lateral quickness, bad footwork puts him out of position on defense too often
Great recovery defender at times so he covers up a lot of his mistakes
Needs to get rid of bad habit of gambling on defense, will drive his coach crazy
Over-rotates on defense too often, leaves his teammates in bad situations at times, needs to improve discipline
Needs to improve consistency in finishing at the rim
Needs to work on using body to draw fouls, elite free-throw shooter
Best Landing Spot
Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers are currently in the midst of a playoff run but they will be looking to add high-upside talent to this roster in the near future. The team struggled to find production from their forwards this season after the departures of Al Farouq-Aminu and Moe Harkless, and while Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza have produced this season, they are aging veterans. In the long term, Patrick Williams would help provide the rebounding, physicality, defending, and possibly shooting that the Blazers need from their forwards. In the short term, he would benefit from learning from the accomplished group of veterans on the Portland roster. Of course, playing alongside Damian Lillard is a major plus for any prospect’s development.
Worst Landing Spot
Utah Jazz. The current iteration of the Jazz roster has a significant hole at one of its forward spots with Bojan Bogdanovic missing the team’s playoff run. However, at full strength, the team has a solid baseline of forward depth and may not give Williams the playing time he needs early in his career. Additionally, the Jazz need all of their non-Rudy Gobert starters to provide shooting in order for their system to work. Williams has plenty of long-term upside when it comes to shooting, but he hasn’t totally established himself as a force from long-range. If his shooting doesn’t progress the way I expect, he may struggle to find playing time on a veteran-heavy, playoff roster.
Draft range: late teens, early twenties in the first round
Basketball IQ: 7. The area where Williams’s basketball IQ really stands out is with his offensive rebounding as he shows an innate feel for the game to track down loose balls. However, he often makes mistakes on both ends of the floor and struggles to maintain awareness of where everyone is. His basketball IQ stands out in some areas and is significantly lacking in others.
Shooting: 7. Williams shot 83.8% from the free-throw line this past season at Florida State and showed an ability to score from all three levels. His mid-range shooting was a major strength, especially with shooting off the dribble. He has an untapped 3-point upside as well.
Passing: 7. He can likely contribute as a secondary playmaker in the NBA as he sees the full court well and can run some pick-and-roll as the initiator. You don’t really want him running your entire offense, but his passing is just one aspect of an all-around intriguing skillset.
Dribbling: 7. Williams is very effective at using dribble moves to produce open space in the mid-range. He has some decently well-developed hesitation, counter, and spin moves in his dribbling arsenal. His finishing in the post off the drive could use some improvement, but there’s an intriguing talent level here.
Hustle: 9. Williams works his butt off on both ends of the floor and on every play. In fact, many of the issues I have with his game come from him working too much, like how he gambles for turnovers on defense. His hustle extends to every part of his game, though, and while it leads to him playing out of control sometimes it will also earn him playing time as a rookie.
Rebounding: 9. Despite only playing 22.5 minutes per game at Florida State this past season, Williams averaged 4.0 rebounds per game. He possesses some of the most highly-coveted attributes in terms of rebounding between his strength, size, anticipation, and hustle.
Defense: 7. Williams did very well at Florida State on the defensive end as he provided excellent help defense on rotations and weakside rim protection. His pick-and-roll defense could use some work and his limited foot speed hurts his ability to close out on open shooters. There’s certainly some high upside here.
Leadership: 8. Williams often operated as a leader on the defensive end for Florida State as he would call out coverages and instruct his teammates. He was also very humble as he ceded a starting spot in his freshman season and there have been no major concerns about his off-court qualities.
Athleticism: 7. It all depends on what you consider a factor in athleticism, but in my opinion agility and speed are the most important. Williams is limited in both regards, and while his physical profile is impressive, he needs to improve as an athlete to reach his upside in the NBA.
Upside: 8. There are a few key factors that will determine if Williams is a role player or a high-level starter in the NBA. First, he needs to hone in on his defensive technique and become more disciplined on that end of the floor. Then he needs to improve as an athlete and make significant improvements to his finishing consistency. Williams has the upside to be a high-level starter in a supporting role, but there’s a wide range of outcomes for him.
Total rating: 76/100
Patrick Williams NBA Comparison
I see Patrick Williams ending up with a similar skillset to two veterans who are contributors to playoff teams this season – Marcus Morris and Jeff Green. Like both of these players, Williams has an impressive combination of strength/size and can fill a variety of roles both on offense and defense. Also, like these players, Williams’s upside will hinge on how he can develop as an athlete and offensive finisher/shooter. Morris and Green have been somewhere between top-end reserves and mediocre to solid starters, which is where I imagine Williams will end up as well. Williams’s strengths will help him become a solid reserve player with a defined skillset, at the very least.
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