By no means will this become the ?Sean Williams Draft? but depending on where he is drafted, he may become a fairly large blip on the Oden/Durant billboards. When a player of Greg Oden?s caliber is widely considered to be the second best shot blocker in the draft, it is because Williams? abilities are that rare and immediately striking.
Williams was infamously dismissed from Boston College?s team in January after a third time violating team rules. He was also arrested for possession of marijuana in 2005 and missed the first eight games of that season and also was suspended by the team for the first two games this past year.
In order to get a closer feel for his character and his recent development, I spoke with John Lucas on Wednesday, who knows Williams as well as anybody.
Williams is from Houston and has been mentored by Lucas off and on over the past three years. Lucas has helped scores of players throughout the years both on-the-court and off of it. He working with guys like Damon Stoudamire, J.R. Smith and Chris Andersen this summer.
A common question GMs ask Lucas is whether or not he would coach Williams and he emphatically says, ?I would coach him in a heartbeat.?
Lucas says that Williams continued to attend classes at Boston College following his dismissal from the team. Less surprising when Lucas tells me Williams scored 1280 on his SAT.
Just how impressive of a shot blocker Williams has been unanimously emphasized and Lucas of course echoes the sentiment.
?His shot blocking drops off the board at you. He blocks shots and keeps them in play.?
Lucas compares his athleticism to a young Antonio McDyess, while he can see his offensive game evolving into something similar to Amare Stoudemire if he can improve his ball handling.
?Basketball wise, he is a top-five talent,? says Lucas, though he did say that he is definitely ?an unfinished product.?
Lucas doesn?t sound ready to endorse Williams with a top-five pick, saying that there are other players in the draft who are further along in their development, but said that ?from eight on back you have to give him a serious look.?
The Bobcats hold the 8th pick and auditioned him on Friday along with Brandan Wright and Jason Smith. Lucas says that Williams outplayed the other two power forwards and that it ?wasn?t even close.? Charlotte also drafts 22nd, but it is likely he will be selected somewhere between their two first round picks.
Philadelphia worked him out on Wednesday and they really liked what they saw.
Lucas believes the Eastern Conference would suit his skill set.
?He is a perfect small power forward in the Eastern Conference because of his quickness.?
There are, however, plenty of people in the Western Conference who believe he would thrive with them as well. Lucas told me that Don Nelson and Chris Mullin made the trip down to Houston to watch Williams? workout.
?Don Nelson would be a great coach for him,? said Lucas.
The Warriors hold the 18th overall pick in Thursday?s draft and could certainly use a player of Williams? abilities and both Nelson and Mullin have done well handling players with ?checkered? history.
Lucas stressed that Williams has excellent character, but has bouts of immaturity and that his troubles have occurred while he has been away from structured environments.
?He needs a life coach,? says Lucas.
Williams appears to be on the right path though he was sluggish in a recent workout after being up until 2:00 AM the night before playing video games. Lucas says that he runs into problems these ways and is not out partying.
After speaking with Lucas, I certainly have fewer reservations about Sean Williams than I did beforehand. Williams will undoubtedly require more day-to-day observation and maintenance than a Mike Conley or Al Horford, but Lucas is equally excited and optimistic about Williams? future and his story will be one to watch and one to root for.