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2020 NBA Draft scouting report: Patrick Williams

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NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

In advance of the 2020 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops is evaluating prospects with a look at what the Atlanta Hawks might be considering from now until the selection process occurs. Dozens of prospects will be profiled in this space and, in this edition, we evaluate Florida State forward Patrick Williams.


Patrick Williams is one of the more interesting high-upside players in the 2020 draft class. As a freshman at Florida State, he was able to display a variety of skills. A combo forward, Williams possesses intriguing versatility on both ends of the floor. Standing at 6’8 with a reported 6’11 wingspan, Williams is able to guard multiple positions while possessing a diverse skill set offensively.

Williams currently ranks as the No. 9 player on ESPN’s best available, leaving him in prime position for a lottery selection, and potentially on the Hawks radar at No. 6.

Offense

Williams is ‘3-and-D’ to the core, but has the potential to be a bit more than that if the team he goes to is able to tap into his passing ability. The 19-year old is an active off-ball player, and actually has some pick-and-roll ball-handling flashes. Williams can use a screen going to his right or to his left (he’s right-handed) and can throw accurate passes with either hand.

However, only 8.8% of his total usage was in this area. The off-ball stuff will be much more important for him, as NBA defense will likely hug shooters if he puts the ball on the floor. Williams is not someone who is typically going to look for his own shot on the move, or create an open shot for himself. He is more of a ball-mover, cutter, and spot-up shooter. He can finish plays that your best players create for him, but won’t be relied on to create a ton of offense for himself.

15.6% of Williams’ usage for the Seminoles was as a cutter, and he ranked in the 62nd percentile at his position in that area. He is not the smoothest finisher in traffic, but he has plenty of burst when he has a free launching area. In traffic, he is probably better off using his vision to find a kick-out pass at this stage.

The remaining bulk of the freshman’s usage at Florida State least season can be found on spot-ups (32.3%), in transition (15%), and on the offensive glass (13.3%). Of those three areas, Williams was the most efficient on the o-glass, but the spot-up area will be by far the most important. While he ranked as just an average spot-up forward as a freshman, a season in which he was still just 18, his fluid motion and length provide optimism that he could be an effective enough shooter to garner the respect of the defenses, and subsequently provide the spacing his teams’ primary players will need to thrive.

Overall offensive outlook

  • Catch-and-shoot wing/forward is ideal role
  • Active cutter, ability to read defense and react
  • Above-average to good court vision for his archetype
  • Energetic, will get one or two easy put backs attempts per game on o-glass

Defense

Williams was a hybrid between a wing and post defender for Leonard Hamilton, which aligns with his hybrid-forward projections heading into the league. He is a little small for power forward length wise, but as a small-ball piece he is still very intriguing at that position. He held opponents to 37% on field goals last season per Synergy, and 57% of his defensive usage was on spot-ups, many of them on a wing. 41 of the 79 shots attempted in spot-up vs. Williams were no-dribble jumpers, and he held opponents to 29% on those shots.

Overall, opponents shot just 30.6% (22 for 72) on jumpshots when Williams was the primary defender in 2019-20. Part of that is the shooting talent in the NCAA isn’t near what it will be in the NBA, or any other major pro league for that matter, but Williams’ length does seem to impact catch-and-shoot players’ efficiency.

Defensive analytics can get messy, especially with a ~30 game sample size for someone coming right out of high school, but hey it’s more information. In terms of more basic defensive output, Williams had exactly 29 blocks and 29 steals in 29 games. He’s not a gambler, but he is able to impact the passing lanes with his length and activity.

Overall defensive outlook

  • Versatility to guard both 3s and 4s
  • Active and engaged as he is offensively
  • Length gives wings trouble
  • Solid but not exceptional stock (stl + blk) rates
  • Supporting team defender, not POA or someone you throw at the lead option for an extended period (only 27 possessions as an isolated defender at FSU)

Fit with Hawks

Williams is probably within the range of reasonable outcomes at No. 6, but the Hawks are not being very talkative as far as speculation goes this time around. For those who remember, it was widely reported that the Hawks liked Cam Reddish, as well as some other prospects in previous drafts. This time around, it seems there are no ‘leaks,’ at least so far. If we were to assume Williams is Schlenk’s ‘guy,’ he may be interested in a trade down. Someone like Killian Hayes or Deni Avdija, who are ranked a bit higher in the consensus than Williams, may still be on the board and highly coveted by a team picking after Atlanta.

As far as the actual fit, he would be a nice addition as he is more of a true 4 than De’Andre Hunter or Reddish, but the Hawks did draft two versatile ~6’8 guys in 2019 and may want to add a more wing/guard hybrid type prospect like Devin Vassell, Tyrese Haliburton or Issac Okoro if they were to be available.