They Smell Like the Future: Terrence Williams

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 25, 2009 under Commentary, Rumors | Read the First Comment

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

Louisville Senior
6′6”, 213 lbs. (Combine measurements)
Almost 22 years old
Shooting guard/small forward/point guard
Projection: Late lottery-late first round

Terrence Williams is the mad note.  I’ve raved and raved about this guy over the last few weeks, or practically ever since his draft stock began to fall.  He’s now, unfortunately, on the up and up, meaning the Mavs likely won’t even sniff him with the 24th pick.

You’ve likely already read many of the reasons why I think Williams should be the guy if he does happen to slip in the draft tonight, but I still have a bag full of superlatives.  Above all else, I think Williams is a supremely valuable player because his ability to impact the game without scoring is just about unparalleled in this draft.  He’s likely to be the best defender at his position, is certainly one of the best ball handlers and distributors at his position, and his rebounding and toughness are top notch.  Terrence Williams is an athlete, and he just so happens to be one that fills a prominent Mavs’ need.

Naturally, he’s not without flaws.  Williams is not a good shooter.  He’s not ideal from that standpoint because he won’t be able to spot-up in the corner or even pull-up in midrange.  His jumpshot is a work in progress, but it’s far from being NBA ready at this point.  To some, that might make him a liability on the floor.  But for a team that has fared well on offense with Antoine Wright and Erick Dampier playing significant minutes, Williams has to be considered a slight offensive upgrade.  Antoine Wright tries, and he tries damn hard every night.  I don’t mean to pick on the guy.  But his mediocre (putting it kindly) shooting stroke and inability to get to the basket consistently makes him a liability on offense.  Williams, on the other hand, is already a better defender than Wright, and supplements those skills with ball-handling and passing on the offensive end.

Terrence Williams is exactly what the Mavs need at this stage in the game: someone who can contribute immediately, and have a clear defensive impact.

Pro-Level Projections:

I’ve asked Jon Nichols of Basketball-Statistics.com to use his Box Score Prediction System (BSPS) to project career numbers for Williams.  The values given are career averages per 36 minutes, considering that per minute statistics at least partially eliminate variables such as abnormal playing time, lack of opportunity, etc.  The projections are based on Williams’ four-year career at Louisville.  For comparison’s sake, I’ve dug up some other players who have averaged similar numbers over their careers (click here for an enlarged chart):

(Note: the years indicated in the chart refer to the last year of the season played.  For examples, the 2004-2005 season will be marked 05.)

These comparisons make very little sense, given Williams’ position and size.  The closest comparisons turned out to be point guards with good rebounding numbers, which is a bit misleading given that Williams’ will likely play the 2 in the NBA.  Rondo is included for some slight similarities, but ultimately because the pickings were so slim.  This guy is a unique player.