Scouting Report - Jordan Williams and Tristan Thompson

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Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Coaches v. Cancer games at Madison Square Garden to watch Pitt, Texas, Maryland and Illinois battle over two days, with Pitt beating Texas to win it all.  Since the focus of this site is to provide the best information on the NCAA players, we start this seasons scouting reports with some of my insights from last weekend.  This post will focus on two post players – Jordan Williams of Maryland and Tristan Thompson of Texas.  A later post today will focus on some of the guards I had the chance to watch.

 

Jordan Williams, Maryland 

Center-  6’10, 260

18.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 57% FG, 55.6 FT

 

Offense

Post Skills- Williams has a massive body and knows how to use it well to establish position in the post.  He has an improved drop-step move into the paint from both blocks, though he often settles for fading away on his shot rather than finishing strong.  He has shown nice touch around the rim and has the ability to shoot with either hand close to the basket.  His passing out of the post has improved, though it is still far from where it should be, especially when he is doubled down low.

Footwork- For his size, Williams has fantastic footwork.  When posting on the block, he moves effortlessly into his scoring move, and has improved his ability to make his move to either side of the defender.  He has also shown that he can make quick cuts to the basket, especially off of the pick and roll.

Ballhandling/Hands- Williams has good hands, and has shown that he can handle difficult feeds into the post.  His ballhandling is still a work in progress, as his dribbles are still a bit slow and too far from his body, making him susceptible to strips.

Perimeter Shooting- Williams has good form on his shot and is very good at getting his feet set out to 10 feet, though he lacks the confidence to take the shot at this point.  By the time ACC season rolls around, look for him to start taking these shots more.

Rebounding/Passing- Williams is excellent at getting 2nd or 3rdchances off his own misses, though he his still learning to get the angles correct to chase down his teammates’ misses.  He sees the court well, but he needs to be quicker in recognizing and passing out of double teams.

Free Throw Shooting  – This is an area where he needs to improve, though he does have the tools – form, rotation, touch – to be successful.  It will be a matter of consistency for him.

Defense

Post Defense- Williams does a great using his body, and staying between his man and the basket.  He moves his feet well, though he is susceptible to head and ball fakes.  It will be important for him to use his lower body to force his opponent away from the blocks.

Perimeter Defense- Williams does a decent job helping and recovering on pick and rolls, though he is still a step slow if his man pulls him out in a one-on-one situation away from the basket.  He needs to stay a step or two off unless his man can show he can hit the perimeter shot consistently.

Rebounding/Blocking- Williams is an excellent rebounder, using his body well to get position and going after and securing the ball.  He needs to be mindful of still looking to block out, even if the closest man is a few feet away from him, as he is prone to being out-jumped for rebounds.  He is not a great shot blocker, and he is still learning when it is best to try and block the shot, and when he just needs to stand his ground with his hands up.

Summary & Intangibles

Athleticism – Above Average

BB IQ – Above Average

Williams has the skills and athleticism to make an impact immediately at the NBA level.  As his game continues to develop, he could be an excellent post scorer and has the body to be a solid defender and rebounder.  He runs the court well for his size and if he can expand his range out to about 10-15 feet, he can be very difficult to defend.

 

Tristan Thompson, Texas 

Forward-  6’8, 230

15 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 55% FG, 47.1 FT

 

Offense

Post Skills- Though Thompson is undersized for playing in the post, he shows a great aptitude for establishing position and using his speed and length to get good shots off.  He still needs to work on expanding his repertoire of post moves, as well as adding a face-up move to enable him to use his athleticism to beat his man to the hoop.  He has shown the ability to finish strong or to use a soft touch to hit difficult shots.  Over time, he should learn to recognize quickly what options he will have available to him once he makes his move.

Footwork- Thompson is very smooth and moves his feet well, especially once he has committed to making his move.  His problem is when he becomes indecisive and he ends up using too many wasted steps deciding what he should do.  On the perimeter, he is still improving on getting to the rim in a more direct manner, though again, it is a decisiveness issue which he needs to work on.

Ballhandling/Hands- Thompson has good hands, and does an excellent job handling passes, especially into the post.  His ballhandling is definitely one of his weaker areas, especially when he makes his post moves.  He was caught a few times trying to make moves with his left hand when he needed to go right and it ruined his attempts at getting to the basket.  In open space, he is a bit better, but still wastes too many dribbles trying to make a move.

Perimeter Shooting- Thompson has a decent mid-range game which should improve over time, as he has good form and a nice touch.  To this point, it is best to reserve judgment until he spends more time playing on the perimeter.

Rebounding/Passing- Thompson has an incredible knack for grabbing offensive rebounds, playing angles almost perfectly and using his long reach to get to balls before everyone else.  Right now, he doesn’t have the strength to outmuscle bigger men for the ball, but will need to rely on his athleticism.  Passing, especially out of the post, is a concern.  He needs to become quicker at reading what the defense is doing and anticipating where there will be an opportunity to get the ball to his teammates. 

Free Throw Shooting  – This is an area where he needs to improve, though he does have the tools – form, rotation, touch – to be successful.  It will be a matter of consistency for him.

Defense

Post Defense- For his lack of size, Thompson did a good job covering much stronger offensive players.  However, over the course of a game, it will be tough for him to exert that much energy battling stronger guys.  He showed that he moves his feet well in the post and uses his long arms to deny passes into the blocks.

Perimeter Defense- Thompson needs to improve his lateral movement when guarding out on the perimeter.  Too often he ends up chasing his man instead of moving with them.  Again, his athleticism has been able to bail him out so far, letting him close quickly on shooters and recovering after getting beat outside.

Rebounding/Blocking- Thompson is improving as a defensive rebounder, though it will be important for him to remember to block out first and then go for the ball.  He does a have a great ability to get a hand on balls he shouldn’t be able to and does a great job getting up, down, and up again quickly on loose rebounds.  His shot-blocking instincts are ahead of other portions of his defensive game right now, as he has great timing and avoids contact well.  He still needs to work on trying to block shots to his teammates where possible instead of going for the emphatic block.

Summary & Intangibles

Athleticism – Above Average

BB IQ – Average

Thompson is still very young and has a lot of development time ahead of him.  His raw talent is fantastic and he should improve quickly over the course of this season.  He still needs to refine his perimeter game as he won’t be a post player at the NBA level, and improving the range on his jumper will make him a dangerous player.  Right now, he would be a great energy guy off the bench of a NBA team, especially on the offensive glass.

 

 

 

 

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