San Antonio Spurs draft prospect, Florida State Seminoles forward Patrick Williams (4) drives to the hoop during a game between FSU and Pittsburgh at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.Fsu Vs Pittrsburgh 021820 Ts 861
The San Antonio Spurs would be a perfect place for Patrick Williams to grow
As the 2020 NBA Draft looms just around the corner, everyone is wondering what the San Antonio Spurs are going to do with their pick.
After the most unpredictable season of all time, the Spurs will be back in the lottery with the 11th overall pick. We know who they’ve been having in for workouts but it’s still unclear if they have a player that they’re circling in on.
Most experts and mock drafts are predicting that San Antonio will use their pick on a big man or a wing. There could be some very talented guards on the board when it’s the Spurs turn to pick. But they already have an impressive group of young guards, they don’t need to add another. The Spurs should do as expected and go after a floor-spacing big man.
One player that could available for San Antonio to take is Florida State’s, Patrick Williams. The athletic young forward has one of the highest ceilings in this class but will need a team with a strong development program to help him reach his full potential.
Here’s why the San Antonio Spurs are the perfect team for the job.
Next: A bright future on defense
Florida State Seminoles forward Patrick Williams (4) plays defense during a game between FSU and Chicago State at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center Monday, Nov. 25, 2019.Fsu Vs Chicago State 112519 Ts 704
The San Antonio Spurs can bring the best out of Patrick Williams on defense
Patrick Williams has the potential to be one of the best defenders in this draft class. With dynamic athletic ability and a high motor, it’s easy to see why teams are so excited about the possibility he brings as a multi-positional defender.
At 6’8 with a 6’11 wingspan, Williams has the height and length to be a strong rim protector. And as one of the youngest players in this draft it’s likely he could add a few more inches before he’s done growing.
Williams was already sending back shots at an elite level so the idea of him extending his range of influence even further is a scary prospect. During his lone season with the Seminoles, he was blocking shots at a rate that was comparable to what Jaren Jackson Jr. did this year.
And like Jackson, Williams is also very capable of switching onto smaller players on the perimeter and holding his own. He can improve as a man to man defender but with the right players around him, he should be able to play through the struggles.
The San Antonio Spurs could use a defender with Williams’ abilities in a variety of ways. He’s going to have to put on weight in order to be the presence the Spurs would need him to be as their center but that’s a possibility that holds real potential.
Give it a year or two but can you imagine a lineup featuring the Spurs young guards and wings surrounding a filled out, improved Williams as their rim protector? A team with that kind of versatility on the defensive end could be a real threat.
Or, if the Spurs want to build a wall around the rim and force their opponents to beat them from outside they could use Williams in tandem with Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl is already an elite-level rim protector in his own right. The possibility of him sharing the floor with a multi-tool defender like Willaims should opponents and excite Spurs fans.
Next: A growing role on offense
Feb 29, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Florida State Seminoles forward Patrick Williams (4) dunks the ball during the second half against the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Williams has room to grow in the San Antonio Spurs offense
With their two top scorers likely returning and plenty of other players hungry for shots there’s a slim chance that Williams would play any meaningful role in the Spurs offense during his first season. But that’s just fine. By floating back and forth between San Antonio and Austin he will get the best of both worlds on offense.
When he’s playing with San Antonio, doing the little things like setting hard screens, crashing the boards, and making timely cuts. This isn’t to say that he won’t do those things in Austin, but when he’s there he’ll have more freedom to call his own shots.
Williams has shown that he can put the ball on the floor and create for himself and his teammates. It’s not something that he did a lot in college but he looks comfortable with the ball in his hands. In Austin, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to flex those muscles.
If Williams can round out his game with a consistent 3-point shot he’ll be a lot closer to reaching his ceiling. He hit on 32 percent of his shots from behind the arc while in college but his free throw percentage (84 percent) hints that he’s got more potential than he’s shown. Thankfully the Spurs are the perfect team to help him find his shot.
We like to talk about the success that Chip Engelland has helped the Spurs have but it’s true. The improvements that White and Murray showed from behind the arc this year is just the most recent proof of their ability to help their guys improve as shooters.
He won’t get much playing time in the bright lights during his rookie year but when Patrick Williams is ready there’s a Rudy Gay-sized hole in the San Antonio Spurs offense with his name on it.
Next: A proven development team
Florida State Seminoles forward Patrick Williams (4) takes the court before an exhibition game between FSU and Barry University at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019.Fsu Vs Barry Exhibition Basketball Game 102219 Ts 032
The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best in the business at molding talent
The fit on the court is great but what sets the San Antonio Spurs apart as the perfect place for Patrick Williams to start his career is their proven ability to help their players improve. Look around the league and it’s hard to deny that they’re one of the best in the business at developing in-house talent.
Their proven track record and current roster situation make San Antonio the perfect landing spot for Williams. In coming to the Spurs he would come to a team that has an opening role that he can grow into but can afford to bring him along slowly. It’s hard to ask for much more than that.
There’s no denying that the Spurs are close to turning the corner on this chapter of their franchise. Even if DeRozan returns this team is going to be in the hands of the young guys soon enough. But San Antonio still has one year with their veteran-laden roster before then.
DeRozan, Aldridge, Gay, and Patty Mills can all be unrestircted free agents in the summer of 2021. And as exciting is it is to put these guys in mock trades we all know the Spurs have historically avoided being big players in the trade market. It’s likely that they ride out the season with all four still on the roster.
For Williams, what could be better? As a competitor he’s going to want to play but being surrounded by veterans who can help him learn the game is only going to help him in the long run.
Patrick Williams has what it takes to be one of the best players in this draft class if he goes to the right situation. The San Antonio Spurs are the perfect team to help him unlock his full potential.