Patrick Williams: Who is His Best Player Comparison?

There were a few times throughout the Florida State vs Saint Francis (PA) game that the TV announcers tried (and failed) to make a comparison for Patrick Williams. One mentioned multiple times that he “could become Noah Vonleh,” which really ain’t it chief*. The other mentioned former Florida State greats, saying he had the attitude of Jonathan Isaac and the play of Chris Singleton, which isn’t a bad comparison at all, but there’s a better one out there.

*This same announcer tried to say MJ Walker is a great shooter that is working on his defense. Wrong again, at least statistically. Walker is a phenomenal defender who is trying to become more consistent shooting the ball.

Sure, 5 games is a really small sample size to make a judgment on a player. It’s clear, however, that Williams is a special talent and is going to really be a great player for FSU. Let’s establish what Williams has done so far this season.

Base Information and Stats

Patrick Williams is listed at 6’8″, 225 pounds, and can play either the small or power forward in this age of basketball.

On the season, here at Williams’ totals: 49 points, 20 rebounds (15 defensive, 5 offensive), 5 assists, 5 blocks, 4 steals, 4/10 3-point shooting, 12/22 2-point shooting, 16/32 overall, and a perfect 13/13 from the free-throw line all in 106 total minutes.

Per game, those come out to 9.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG (3.0 DRB, 1.0 ORB), 1.0 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.8 SPG in 21.2 minutes per game. A solid line, for sure, but nothing about those numbers scream superstar talent and future first-round NBA pick.

As he gains more trust from the staff, he’ll receive a little more playing time, but nothing that will create a huge uptick in production. Coach Hamilton’s system relies on playing at 100% effort, but in more limited minutes.

So let’s live in a fantasy world and increase his minutes. If we were to up his minutes to 40 per game, meaning he’s playing every minute of the game, his stats look pretty incredible: 18.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG (5.6 DRB, 1.9 ORB), 1.9 APG, 1.9 BPG, 1.5 SPG. All of this while shooting 40% from 3-point, 54.5% from 2-point, 50% from the floor, and 100% from the free-throw line. THAT is a special stat line, but just how special is it?

Player Comparisons

Sports-reference.com/cbb has a great tool that allows you to search for players that had seasons of a certain stat line, which allows for comparisons across all of college basketball in the last 27 years (their index starts in the 1992-1993 season).

Noah Vonleh

First, let’s debunk the Noah Vonleh comparison. Vonleh played one season at Indiana, and did most of his work in the paint, given his size of 6’10”, 240 pounds. Watch highlight tapes, and you see a lot of post hooks, up-and-unders, and a lot of back to the basket plays. If you have a lot of time, here’s a detailed scouting report of Vonleh when he entered the NBA Draft.

Here are his per game and per 40-minute numbers, per CBB Reference (I don’t know how they’re so different from the video above).

Per Game: 26.5 MPG, 11.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG (6.6 DRB, 2.4 ORB), 0.6 APG, 1.4 BPG, 0.9 SPG on 52.3% FG, 48.5% 3pt, and 71.6% FT

Per 40: 17.0 PPG, 13.6 RPG (10.0 DRB, 3.6 ORB), 0.9 APG, 2.1 BPG, 1.3 APG

Vonleh was a much better and more involved rebounder than Williams will be in college, and it’s because they play two entirely different styles of basketball. One is a post player who would occasionally step outside to shoot the 3, while the other is a wing player who primarily operates on the perimeter.

This comparison is a bad one even from a statistical standpoint, much less a style of play one. There HAS to be a better comparison out there.

50/40/90 Club with 50% 2pt Shooting

Now, let’s get to work on finding that better comparison for Patrick Williams.

The first comparison I did was for all players in the 50/40/90 club (50% FG, 40% 3PT, 90% FT), while also shooting greater than 50% from inside the arc. The 50/40/90 club is one of the exclusive clubs in the NBA, as just 8 players in the history of the league reside in the club: Larry Bird, Malcolm Brogdon, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Mark Price. For a player to do it at the college level is just as extraordinary: as 278 players since the 92/93 season have accomplished this mark.

That may seem like a lot, but as of the time of this article being written, only 83 of those 278 scored more than 40 points in that season. If Patrick Williams were to keep his pace of scoring across 31 games, he would finish with around 304 points, landing him 12th in points scored during a 50/40/90 season. Just behind him would be Steve Novak and Kyrie Irving.

A lot of the players ahead of Williams are guards and upperclassmen, so let’s narrow this list down to freshmen forwards.

Only 21 players meet this criteria, and only 8 have scored 35 or more points. Patrick Williams is one of them, and again Steve Novak is on the list. Novak had nowhere near the kind of impact defensively that Williams does. That entire season, Novak finished with 7 steals and 0 blocks. We need to broaden the search to find a better comparison.

50% FG%, 40% 3pt%, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 10 or more 3PA

The next comparison I made was freshmen forwards who shot 50% from the floor, 40% from 3, and had 1.0 or more assists and steals per game, while also shooting 10 or more 3s on the season, implying efficiency, defense, playmaking, and not getting lucky on a couple of shots.

12 players fit this criteria, and there are a lot of great names on this list; Chris Bosh, Wendell Carter Jr, TJ Leaf, and Jeff Green were all NBA players after their college careers were over. Bosh and Carter were more undersized centers than forwards though, so those are bad comparisons as well.

The Jeff Green comparison holds some weight though. Here are Green’s per game and per 40-minute numbers

Per game: 33.8 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.9 APG (3.9 DRB, 2.7 ORB), 1.6 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 52.8% FG, 40% 3pt, 69.9 FT%

Per 40: 15.4 points, 7.8 rebounds (4.6 DRB, 3.2 ORB), 3.4 APG, 1.9 BPG, 1.1 SPG.

Green played more than 1000 minutes in his freshman season, which is remarkable considering Williams is on pace to play just over 650, not including postseason games. When comparing them side-by-side, Williams has the advantage in points, defensive rebounds, and steals, Green has the advantage in total rebounds, offensive rebounds, and assists, and they’re even on blocks.

Shooting wise, they’re remarkably similar from the floor, Green just took more shots inside the arc, but Williams is smoking him in free throw percentage.

Overall though, I really like this comparison. Green was 6’8″ and 225 pounds his freshman year as well, Williams just has a little longer of a wingspan and his shooting motion looks a little smoother but slower. Both have elite athleticism, and both have the versatility to play either forward spot. Green was a more fiery player and hunted his shot more than Williams does currently. Watch this highlight clip of Green from the 2007 NCAA Tournament and tell me you don’t see a lot of similarities in the two players while keeping in mind this was Green’s junior season.

Green became the fifth overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft and is still in the league, now with his 8th team in the Utah Jazz. If Patrick Williams can become the player Jeff Green was, Florida State has a truly great player on their hands.

Leave a Reply