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Sleeper Deep Dives: Alondes Williams
After a long and rambling journey across the college basketball sphere, Alondes Williams has put himself on the draft radar this year with a spectacular senior season for Wake Forest.
Alondes Williams was a long-shot NBA prospect as recently as last season. While his ability to finish around the basket was remarkable, the rest of his game was not quite at an NBA level. He started only 14 of his 24 games for the Oklahoma Sooners last season, averaging 6.7 PPG and 2.8 RPG in just over 18 MPG as a bit player in their offense.
Williams decided to transfer to Wake Forest to finish out his college career, and that move is paying huge dividends. He has gone from an afterthought in Norman to the big man on campus in Winston-Salem for a surprisingly solid Demon Deacons squad. Williams has doubled his minutes and tripled his production; this year, he has started all 29 of his team’s games and is averaging 19.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 5.1 APG, and 1.2 SPG in 33.8 MPG for Wake Forest.
As we have frequently discussed here on No Ceilings, this year’s point guard class is not quite as strong as it has been in previous years. That relative lack of guard depth makes it easier for sleeper candidates to stand out as we get closer to March Madness and the NBA Draft.
Alondes Williams has flown under the radar for a few years now. He began his college career as a JUCO player at Triton College in Illinois before moving to Division I with Oklahoma. However, this season has been a revelation from the senior guard. He is all but a lock to get drafted somewhere at this point, and he may even sneak into the back end of the first round if the right team falls in love with his craft around the rim and on-ball creation abilities. So… let’s dive deep!
Offense: Brilliance Inside the Arc
Alondes Williams will get drafted primarily because of his ability to score inside of the three-point line. He won’t get the same amount of attention as the players at the top of the draft, but Williams is arguably the best guard in the country at putting the ball in the basket from two-point range.
Williams does have good positional size for a point guard at 6’5” and 210 lbs., but his ability to score in and around the basket is still staggering. He is converting a remarkable 60.7% of his two-point baskets this season—a number that would typically denote a big man who only scores around the basket. His solid handle and craftiness allow him to get to the rim almost at will in either the halfcourt or transition. Once he gets there, he can easily sneak the ball past opposing rim protectors or throw down a thunderous dunk:
Alondes Williams’s proficiency at scoring around the basket is nothing new; he shot 55% on his two-point baskets during his last season at Oklahoma. Typically, however, players are usually less efficient when they are responsible for more of the offense. Williams has nearly tripled his scoring average, but he has been better than ever at converting around the basket this season.
The most significant jump for Williams has not been in his scoring, though, but in his passing. After dishing out just 50 assists in total during his two seasons in Oklahoma, Williams is currently leading the ACC in total assists and assists per game. He has not just embraced his larger role in the Wake Forest offense—he has flourished. His increased confidence is visible in every facet of his play this season, but that confidence is easiest to see when looking at his most audacious passes:
Alondes Williams ranks in the 78th percentile offensively overall, per Synergy Sports. He grades out as “Good” or better in every offensive play type except for spot-up shooting, where he grades out merely as “Average” instead of well above that threshold. His overall offensive grade jumps up to the 89th percentile when measuring possessions plus assists, indicating that his growth as a playmaker goes beyond just the raw assist totals.
The one knock against Williams offensively is his three-point shot, and even that knock is less discouraging than it might appear at first glance. Williams is shooting 32% on triples this season on 4.1 3PA per game. Those numbers aren’t fantastic, but he has more than quadrupled his attempts from long-range after putting up exactly one long-range try per game in his last season at Oklahoma. Williams does not have a broken jump-shot by any means; his form is relatively clean with a high release, and his proficiency as a mid-range shooter also bodes well for his future development as a shooter. Even without a three-point shot in his arsenal, however, Williams’s playmaking and extraordinary finishing touch will be more than enough for him to be an offensive threat at the next level.
Defense: Size and Strength
Alondes Williams’s defense does not stand out as much as his offensive game, but there are still plenty of reasons to be encouraged about his defensive tools. Despite his heavy offensive load, Williams reliably puts in the effort on that end of the floor. He moves well on the perimeter, and he isn’t afraid to mix it up down low on either end of the floor. He is an exceptional rebounder for his position, which also helps get Wake Forest into their offense when Williams snags a ball off the glass and kick-starts their transition attack.
Williams can occasionally get lost chasing steals defensively, but he generally does an excellent job of keeping his man in front of him when defending opposing pick-and-roll plays. While his jumpiness can be an issue at times, that jumpiness also frequently leads to Williams generating turnovers and getting out in transition. Once he has a lane to the rim, there is pretty much nothing that anyone can do to stop him:
The defensive numbers back up the film on that front—Synergy rates Williams as a “Good” defender overall and places him in the 56th percentile. Other defensive metrics are even more sold on his potential as a defender; prior to Wednesday night’s games, Williams was third in the ACC in Defensive Win Shares at 1.7 per Sports-Reference.
Williams’s positional size is certainly a plus on offense, but that comes into play even more on the defensive end. He should be able to credibly switch 1-3 sooner rather than later at the NBA level, which will give him more leeway in terms of carving out a role in an NBA rotation. His offensive game will almost certainly be what gets him drafted, but Alondes Williams has proven that he is no slouch on the other end of the floor.
The future outlook for Alondes Williams looks dramatically different this year in comparison to where he stood after a middling season for Oklahoma. He started the year as a draft afterthought; regardless of where Wake Forest finishes the season, Williams has already proven himself to be far more than that.
While Wake Forest’s Wednesday night loss to a struggling Clemson squad will sting, the Demon Deacons are still in good shape in terms of a potential NCAA Tournament berth. Fellow transfer Jake LaRavia has certainly played a part in their dramatic turnaround from last season’s miserable 6-16 record and 14th place finish in a 15-team conference, but Wake Forest simply would not be where they are right now without this season from Alondes Williams.
Given his vastly improved passing, his solid defense, and his exceptional finishing skills, Alondes Williams has solidified himself as one of the lead guard prospects to watch in the 2022 NBA Draft. He may end up falling into the second round due to concerns about his shooting and his age (Williams will turn 23 before the start of the next NBA season), but his athleticism and production this season are impossible to deny. Alondes Williams has shown that he can be a productive player and a positive force for his team when he has the ball in his hands. Given just how much he has grown as a player to even get to this point, it would be foolish to bet against him now.