Louis Williams on ESPN2

Louis Williams on ESPN2
Feb 04, 2005, 01:07 am
Louis Williams showed us once again tonight (this time on national TV) exactly why he's considered one of the top high school players in the country, backing up his rep as an explosive scorer (30 points) with fantastic athletic ability, but also showing why a lot of people think he would be cheating himself out of a much greater future if he indeed decided to make the jump to the NBA.

Williams, as you probably noticed, has NBA-caliber athleticism. He is extremely quick, has a terrific first step, a gigantic vertical leap and can get off the floor in the blink of an eye. Williams has the burst of speed and extra gear that every starting NBA point guard needs, and is a terror in the open floor. He combines that with excellent range on his shot and a quick release; but as we've noticed more in other games of his, his perimeter shot isn't always consistent. He's got terrific potential in this area, though, so it's hard to imagine him not becoming a dead-eye shooter down the road as long as he knows the difference between a good and bad shot. He did a great job of playing under control in this game, but that hasn't always been the case in other games we've seen. Generally speaking, though, it was very impressive to see the way the kid handled himself while playing under the spotlight of a nationally televised, ESPN2 audience.


What we couldn't figure out from this game is what position Williams is going to play in the pros. He doesn't play the point for his high school team, and didn't really show anything leading us to believe that he would be able to do that for an NBA team. His court vision seems to be lagging behind the rest of his game, and when he puts the ball on the floor, he sees one thing and one thing only: the rim. Learning to play the lead guard spot is something that's going to be very tough for Williams to do in the NBA as a high schooler. He'd undoubtably have a much easier time doing that next year at Georgia. Since this draft is already incredibly stacked with proven point guards of all shapes and sizes, it seems like the second half of the first round is where Williams would probably go. This means going to a team that is likely much better, thereby having a deeper rotation than your average lottery team, meaning less opportunity for Williams to learn how to play point guard on the job.

There are other parts of his game that could become much better if he decided to spend a year or two at Georgia under Dennis Felton, mainly his defense. South Gwinnett plays a lot of zone, but it wasn't hard to notice that Williams doesn't have great footwork out on the perimeter, as you would probably expect from a high school star. He got lost on rotations a couple of times and just doesn't seem to display much intensity in this area. His ballhandling looks solid for this level, but could use some work to go up against bigger, stronger and tougher opponents. Spending some time in the physical SEC could help him a lot in this regard. It would be nice to see Williams be a lot more active on both ends of the floor, but again, that's something that comes with time.

All in all, it's not hard to notice that Louis Williams has the potential to become a top 5 pick in the draft sometime in the near future, but there are too many questions surrounding his game and too many proven points this year for him to work his way into the lottery portion of the 2005 draft. A year or two in Athens will do wonders for his game, and I think he would truly be cheating himself out of becoming something special down the road if he took the easy route this year and decided to commit himself to an NBA bench for the next couple of seasons.

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