After spending his first three seasons as a role player that picked his spots, T.J. Williams has exploded during his senior campaign. The Northeastern standout is averaging career highs in nearly every statistical category including points (21.5), rebounds (4.8), and assists (5.2). Not to mention he’s increased his efficiency to go along with the heavier workload, and is posting career-best shooting splits of .510/.380/.750.
Williams’ major leap has transformed him into one of the most well-rounded players in college basketball. The college basketball community isn’t the only group taking notice. If Williams continues to produce at this level, he’ll begin to work his way onto the NBA Radar. Here’s how his game translates to the next level.
Weight: 205 lbs.
Position: Point Guard
The transition to point guard has made all the difference for Williams. The switch has allowed him to showcase his skills as an all-around scorer, as he scores from everywhere on the court.
So far this year, Williams is taking 46.3 percent of his shots at the rim, and he’s converting 60.6 percent of those attempts. He’s not an elite athlete, but he’s athletic enough to use his size and strength when finishing at the rim. He takes over eight free throws per game, and is one of the best in the country at getting to the stripe.
He also excels as a shot creator. His jumper has a high release point, and is tough to contest for other point guards. His game is best described as “smooth,” and Williams can lull defenders to sleep before sticking a jumper in their face. He’s converting 47.5 percent of his mid-range jumpers, and continues to improve as a three-point shooter.
Williams has shown the ability to be effective in both half-court and transition opportunities. He can put a defense in a bind in the pick-and-roll, or grab a rebound and immediately start a fastbreak. Being a good rebounder for his position allows him to create transition opportunities quickly before the defense can adjust. His improved playmaking skills force defenses to pick their poison: try to slow down Williams and let him hit the open man, or cover his teammates and leave space for him to attack the hoop.
The biggest current question mark for Williams is his defense. Taking on the brunt of the offensive workload has resulted in inconsistent effort at times on the defensive side of the ball. He’s hardly the first college star to prioritize offense over defense, but he will have to nix that habit if he hopes to play at the next level.
Also, he might struggle with the size and athleticism of the NBA. He’ll have to prove that he can finish against length at the hoop, and he’ll have to work to defend point guards on every possession.
He’ll also have to hone his distribution skills if he hopes to play point guard in the pros. It’s not his natural position, and only playing it for a year before going pro leaves some uncertainty. It’s quite possible he gets pegged as a tweener, and spends time at both positions.
Williams isn’t currently listed on any mock drafts, but he should definitely get an opportunity to work out in front of teams. If Northeastern is able to win the CAA Tournament, Williams could absolutely help his stock with a good showing in the NCAA Tournament. Nonetheless, Williams will get his chance to prove himself to NBA front offices. Don’t be surprised to see his name creep onto mock drafts or onto the board during draft night.
Statistics courtesy of Sports Reference and Hoop-Math.com