By: Chase Fitzgerald (@NBADraftGuy)
Michael Carter Williams
Position: Point Guard
Birthday: 10/12/91 (21 years old)
Standing Reach: 8’5”
Michael Carter Williams had an up and down season looking like a top 5 pick at times but also looking like he’s never set foot on a basketball court at times. Either way, MCW is one of the highest rated point guards in the draft and is filled with potential intriguing many NBA teams. MCW may be a top ten pick come June and has the ability to become a superstar. He has a long way to go though. Here are my findings:
Great Decision Maker:
Michael Carter Williams almost always makes the right decision and is an overall smart basketball player. He never gets too turnover prone and just doesn’t make stupid passes. He never tries to force the ball and in when he is in transition, he isn’t afraid to dribble the ball back out instead of forcing a contested floater. He is a very unselfish, pass first player who would be great on a team that already has a superstar.
Michael Carter Williams may have problems with his shot but he always makes the shot when it counts. He has the ability to single handedly take over games as he just takes his game to another level in crunch time. It seems like he rides the momentum of his team and always is there to cap off his team’s big run. This is the same defensively as well. He may be inconsistent at times but, when there is 10 seconds left and the opposing guard is trying to create something like in example A, MCW makes sure that nothing happens. Being clutch can’t be taught, it’s just something that a select amount of players are born with and MCW definitely has the clutch gene.
Example A & B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8-4C5DKYkI
Like I said before, MCW never forces any play. He always waits for the play to develop and never rushes to make a decision. This is a very good quality to have in a point guard that many teams would kill to have in theirs. He passes on the opportunity of a mildly open shot and is willing to make the extra pass to get the more open shot. It’s nice to see a player that is not afraid to drain the shot clock to make sure his team gets the best possible shot.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdRcDeOcqE
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGJAPXRiyqM
We won’t know his standing reach until the combine but what I do know is that a point guard with a 6’5” wingspan is not normal. His length can really be shown when he plays defense when he always make sure to keep both of his arms out wide to make any pass much more difficult for the opposing guard. He constantly knocks away passes and causes havoc as much as any guard in college. His length makes any inbounds pass 10x more difficult as well because the inbounder can’t make any lazy lob passes because MCW will get a hand on them.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFC-eUyEU18
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YT1WDHr3Uo
The average height for a NBA point guard is around 6’2” so obviously, the 6’5” Michael Carter Williams has a huge advantage. He can easily shoot over any guard and if he develops a reliable floater, it’s going to make guarding him almost impossible. Having him on the court will cause match-up problems for the opposing team on offense and on defense.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSiOA5LVZNo
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkOHodRKmZE
MCW is crazy fast for someone his size which is one of the main reasons why he is so good at getting to the basket. He can usually easily run by his defender, being one of the most athletic guards in college basketball if not being the most athletic, and can turn any rebound into a fast break.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ursobv2cSMk
Michael Carter Williams has a knack for getting a hand on the ball. This is assisted by his length but he still does a better job at it than most. When defending a fast break, instead of going up with the player just to be called for a foul, he strips the opposing player and usually knocks the ball off him as well usually getting all ball. An underrated skill that can save a few baskets.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wZvTKYMbFY
I haven’t had more fun watching a player on a fast break/transition than Michael Carter Williams. He always makes the right decision and always knows whether to push the pace or not. He converts on pretty much every opportunity he gets and transition baskets were a huge reason why Syracuse made the final four this year. It is a thing of beauty watching him on a fast break and I expect his book called “How to run a fast break” to come out real soon.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV0pdMLRoFI
Can catch fire
MCW isn’t a very good shooter but once he sees one ball go into the hoop, his confidence sky rockets. A great example of this is in the Cincinnati game when he was missing everything when a floater roles into the basket, and he goes on to only miss one shot the rest of the game. MCW is a very streaky shooter so there are some games where he is just ice cold but when he heats up, it’s scary.
Example A &B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5xq_tvFkKI
The little things
You will never see MCW complain for a foul call while the ball is still in play and whenever he commits a turnover, he always makes sure to hustle back on defense. He always crashed the boards for a rebound despite being a point guard and seems to get at least 2 or 3 extra possessions for his team each game. He also makes sure to find a player to box out which I absolutely love in a prospect. Someone who doesn’t overlook the little things that he was taught growing up.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec86DSFAUHo
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yJSYEAjnCo
High release point
A high release point paired with MCW’s 6’5” height makes it pretty much impossible for him to be blocked. He needs to start hitting his shots though to put those things to use. I don’t care if your release point is with your arms straight up, if it doesn’t go in, it doesn’t matter. MCW will definitely improve his shot and when he does, opposing point guards will have some problems.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h53et-qOMic
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDMLEi_FTHQ
Usually teams are more than happy to get 3 or 4 rebounds from their point guard because 7 foot centers almost always out rebound the 6 foot guards. But with MCW, that’s not the case. The almost 6’6 guard can jump right up there with the forwards and will steal a few rebounds from them. Just another perk of being tall.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0DA9GKHZGs
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdZckmfu_VI
Gets teammates open shots
Michael Carter Williams is just fantastic at getting shooters open shots. He does it two ways. The first way is by driving in, attracting the defense, and kicking out. A skill that many point guards have. The other way is very interesting. He drags his defender away from the shooter and creating room before passing to him for the wide open shot like in example A.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frJlfyxKNwA
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX2-VhwgYVo
This was kind of a given from the things I mentioned above but he is crazy athletic especially for someone his size. MCW seems like an athlete that could pretty much excel at anything but chose basketball. He’s fast, tall, and has got some ups. He has the ability to end worlds like in example A, and will never have a problem keeping up with anyone he guards in the NBA.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN2Hm1Roqyc
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wSNTDTM-dk
Although MCW is a very patient and smart player, he’s not afraid to push the pace. In the Providence game at the end of the first half, MCW started 5 straight fast breaks all of them translating into points. His athleticism and speed allows him to do this and he would be a perfect fit for a fast pace team like the Thunder.
Michael Carter Williams has struggled with putting the ball in the basket his entire college career shooting under 40 percent for the season. Improving his shot has to be his number 1 focus for the off-season because if MCW had a reliable jump shot, he wouldn’t only be the number 1 point guard in the draft, but possibly a top 5 pick. Teams will shy away from picking him because of his inability to score consistently and they have a legitimate point.
Confused Constantly on Defense
Even though MCW is fantastic on defense at times, not letting anyone get around him, he has moments where you question whether he knows what basketball is. He falls for pump fakes and fake passes constantly and sometimes just takes himself out of the play completely. It’s sometimes hard to watch, but if you don’t at least chuckle when watching the examples there’s something wrong.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXowW6fZqng
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NwYpChXdWU
Needs to be more aggressive
MCW is patient which is very good in a point guard but, sometimes he’s a little to patient for his own good. He needs to attack the basket more because when he does, good things happen. He does drive and kick out a lot but pretty soon, defenders are going to guard for the kick out knowing he won’t shoot. Sometimes that little opening to the basket is the best you’re going to get. You can’t always wait for a better one because sometimes, that opportunity doesn’t show up.
Mental Lapses/Common sense
Yes MCW, I understand you need to stay in your zone but, when there is no one near you it’s time to move. MCW makes you want to scream at your television at times, when he guards no one on an inbounds pass or watching an opposing player go right by him for the easy lay-up. He needs to get his head in the game and just have common sense.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDcGlQ_l67o
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJjKov6cHHE
Doesn’t always contest shots
There is literally no explanation for it. Maybe he’s scared of falling for a pump fake or something but at times he just stands there and doesn’t put his hand up. I know the man shooting is a little far from him but it wouldn’t hurt to at least try to contest the shot. It’s just a little thing that I’ve noticed that bothers me a whole lot.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BKPvcNPEmY
Example B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb5yoYQMYaA
Michael Carter Williams does not have the best handles in the world, plain and simple. He does have a great hesitation move but besides that, his bag of tricks is pretty much empty. He needs to work on his offensive game as a whole but developing a reliable crossover to pair with his hesitation would be a great start.
Example A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua2NcutmG10
Relies on Athleticism
There is no real examples for this but you can tell from watching his games that without his crazy athleticism, he wouldn’t be ranked very high. He relies on his athleticism way too much and the problems for guys like that is their careers run short such as Allen Iverson. He needs to develop his shot and create some kind of offensive game beyond his natural talent is he’s going to have a long and productive career.
Just like many other players in this draft, MCW is very raw as a prospect. He could develop into a superstar or a bust. He needs to be drafted by a team that is willing to be patient with him instead of throwing him right into the fire. He is a very risky pick and along with his possible bust factor it wouldn’t surprise me to see him fall in the draft.
Michael Carter Williams is a very intriguing prospect that will get a lot of attention from NBA teams. He has the potential to be a superstar and even though I don’t think he’ll become that good, he ill succeed at the next level. I can’t wait to follow his career.