2020 NBA draft profile: Patrick Williams is an outstanding athlete who may have star potential

Brian Brennan
·3 min read

Could forward with star potential be a draft possibility for Sixers? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Our scouting report on NBA draft prospect Patrick Williams: 

  • Position: Forward

  • Height: 6-8

  • Weight: 225

  • School: Florida State

Williams was a bit of a surprise one-and-done freshman considering he didn’t even start for the Seminoles this season. A five-star recruit out of Charlotte, North Carolina, he was ACC Sixth Man of the Year for a deep and athletic Florida State team that won the conference title. His statistics certainly don’t jump off the screen. Williams averaged 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game this season, shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from three-point range. He also averaged one block and one steal per game.

Strengths

Williams is an outstanding athlete with a great motor. When you watch his clips, you’ll see that athleticism show up when he makes impactful plays as a help defender. Williams is a good weak-side shot blocker and can contest shots at the rim. He’s a quick, explosive leaper. He will get steals and blocks in the NBA because of his activity level and anticipation on the defensive end.

Offensively, Williams is an excellent cutter and lob threat. He knows where to be, how to move the ball and play within a system — he’s not a ball stopper. He can drive it a little bit and can hit a pull-up jumper, but he's more of an energy guy/athlete at this stage. Williams is a pretty good finisher, though, and there’s potential to be a much bigger scorer in the NBA than he was at Florida State.

Weaknesses

Williams was much better guarding in the post in college than he was guarding players one-on-one in space. He may struggle when he gets switched onto NBA-level ball handlers, at least early in his career.

He’s more suited to play a power forward/small-ball center role than he is to play small forward. The problem is he’s slightly undersized to play that role in the NBA. His athleticism, strength and leaping ability will help him in that regard.

Williams wasn’t a great three-point shooter as a freshman (32.0 percent), but was 83.8 percent from the free throw line, a good sign that the shot isn't broken. He does certainly have 3-and-D potential if he can improve his three-point shooting at the NBA level. But if the shot doesn’t improve, he may have to make it as a defense/energy guy.

Fit

Let’s get it out of the way: Right now, Patrick Williams is not the shooter that Sixers fans have been clamoring for. I’m not sure how much sense it makes to bring in another average to below-average shooter who will share the floor with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

But considering who else is on the board, Williams makes a lot of sense as a potential Mike Scott replacement (and perhaps much more) down the road. He turned 19 in August and is one of the youngest players in the draft. He’s one of the players that could get picked outside the lottery who has star potential if he hits his ceiling and if his shot improves.

Rather than drafting strictly for need, Williams would give the Sixers another valuable asset that could be used in a trade. And if the Sixers decide they want to move Al Horford in the offseason, they’re going to need some assets to sweeten the pot.