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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Will Marcus Williams find success in the NBA?

    Marcus Williams
    Marcus Williams

    Williams will make a good pro


    Marcus Williams does not have athleticism like Andre Iguodala, a shooting stroke like Salim Stoudamire or the passing ability of Luke Walton.

    But he has a little bit of everything, and that is why he will eventually make a good pro in the NBA.

    Williams is a 6-foot-7 forward who can play three NBA positions and even played a fourth in college. He plans on advertising himself as a point forward who can initiate the offense, but his primary position should be as a small forward who can shoot, rebound, pass and defend.

    The biggest reason for Williams’ future success is that he’s a gym rat who will improve in his time in the league.

    Williams has said before that basketball is always fun for him, which makes him want to put in the long hours. His commitment can be seen in his conditioning; UA head coach Lute Olson has frequently mentioned that Williams was in the best shape of any Wildcat this season, winning the team’s mile run at the beginning of the year.

    “”Clearly, he’s going to do well,”” said UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough. “”He’s been an extremely hard worker and a very, very good young man in the program. He’s in the gym all the time working on his game.””

    Besides his NBA-style step-back jumper, among other offensive skills, Williams plays underrated defense. This season he guarded everyone from Stanford 7-footer Brook Lopez to Oregon point guard Aaron Brooks and down the stretch often matched up against the opposition’s top perimeter player.

    Plus Williams comes from an Arizona program that doesn’t produce NBA flops very often, especially from first-round picks like Williams is expected to be. In fact, not since Khalid Reeves was picked 12th overall in the 1994 NBA Draft has a Wildcat picked among the first 32 selections failed to carve out a productive career in the NBA, including early second-round picks Gilbert Arenas, Walton and Stoudamire.

    There’s something to be said for talented players who pass through Olson’s program, especially those who leave after their sophomore seasons, only Iguodala, Mike Bibby and Arenas have done.

    Although Williams will likely never earn the star status of the latter trio, expect him to be a productive NBA player for years to come with his versatile skill set.

    – Michael Schwartz
    assistant sports editor

    Williams will flop in NBA


    Marcus Williams, although a good player at times in college, will not duplicate that success in the NBA.

    Nothing about his game makes you stand up and take notice, and certainly nothing jumps out. He has average athleticism, average ball handling, a below-average jump shot and almost no playmaking skills to speak of.

    It’s one thing to be well-rounded; it’s quite another to not do anything particularly well. His height (6- foot-7) and weight (205 pounds) suggest that he’s best suited for the perimeter, but can you picture him matched up one on one with Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady?

    While that is a mismatch for anyone, Williams’ relative lack of quickness and absence of defensive intensity make that scenario a disaster for whatever team he’s playing for. His best games in college came when he stayed near the paint and did the dirty work, but those easy buckets won’t be there for him in the NBA.

    His frame and game are very reminiscent of former UCLA swingman Dijon Thompson. Let’s compare their respective numbers for their sophomore seasons.

    Williams averaged 16.6 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor but shot only 28 percent from 3-point land. Compare that to Thompson’s averages of 14 points per game on 50 percent shooting while hitting 36 percent from downtown.

    Keep in mind that Williams’ overall shooting percentage is skewed because of the easy baskets he collected on fast breaks and from garbage scores inside that won’t be as readily available on the next level – the 28 percent shooting from 3-point range is a more accurate indicator of his marksmanship.

    If he struggles from the college 3-point line, how is he ever going to consistently make NBA 3s, when the line is four feet farther away?

    But back to the Thompson comparison. Unlike Williams, Thompson had the good sense to stay in college and work on his game.

    Even after a much improved senior year that saw him average 18.4 points per game, Thompson was drafted by the New York Knicks in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft with the 54th overall pick (red flag, Marcus!) before being traded to the Phoenix Suns on draft night.

    In his two years in the NBA, Thompson has played in a grand total of 16 games and scored a whopping 45 points while also spending time in the NBA’s Developmental League.

    Although he will likely be drafted higher than Thompson because of his “”potential,”” I see Williams’ career headed in a similar direction when it’s all said and done.

    – Cameron Jones
    sports writer

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