It has taken a lot longer than expected, but I think Terrence Williams game (on the offensive end) has finally reached a level that Nets’ fans were hoping to get from him at the start of the season. Before looking at his game Wednesday night, let’s talk about what the problem was early on. I attribute it to him logging so many minutes early at so many different positions that he was unable to get comfortable and learn. Yesterday, Williams talked to Colin Stephenson about it:
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said Thursday. “I tried to come here and use the same game that I used in college, but my shot wasn’t falling. I had to re-evaluate myself as a player and change my game to more so going to the hole, but still do the other little things that I do and love to do, as far as, like, passing, playing ‘D’ and rebounding.”
The little things are coming along for Terrence Williams, and they added up to a great game against LeBron James and the Cavs. Let’s look at what makes him a threat on the offensive end.
In The Halfcourt
Terrence Williams’ first step is amazing, and he is starting to really use that to his advantage now. Look at the above clip. When he makes the catch, Anthony Parker (his defender) doesn’t even worry about Williams’ shot. He is defending the drive, and that is what makes this move even more amazing. He takes the space that Parker gives him, puts him on his heels, and crosses him over, getting right to the rim to convert the lay-up.
T-Will is also getting smarter with the basketball. Early in the season, Terrence Williams would have came off that screen hard, forcing the issue, and probably turning it over. This time he steps back, waits for Cleveland to make their decision (whether to switch or hedge), spots a lane and takes it. As three defenders collapse on him, you get a little glimpse of the athleticism and vision he posses as he spots Kris Humphries in the corner for an open jumper.
The Point Forward
Terrence Williams’ passing and ball-handling abilities had the Nets’ coaching staff and fans tossing this word out all willy-nilly in the preseason. He still has those skills, and he is starting to use them effectively.
The video quality in this one is grainy (and I apologize for that), but Terrence ends up with the ball in his possession after a deflection and he rushes it upcourt. He then hits Jarvis Hayes with a cross-court one-handed pass for the wide open three (which Hayes knocks down). Terrence Williams being able to take the ball, bring it up court, and be able to hit an open man is an invaluable asset for this team. Think of a situation like this if he was unable to do this. He would have had to find an open ballhandler, taking up time, and allowing the Cavs to get back and settle things down.
And lets talk about that pass for a minute. Every time Terrence does that, my heart skips a beat. Cross-court passes like that aren’t meant to reach its destination, but his does more often than not. Being able to throw passes like that takes great timing, anticipation, and vision, I am surprised it doesn’t get stolen more often.
This was my favorite play from Wednesday’s game. Williams grabs the rebound and takes it all the way down the court with nobody stopping him for the dunk. Again, this all happens because Williams’ doesn’t have to find a ball-handler, because he is one. Look at Antwan Jamison about halfway through that clip. He turns to find his man (Williams) expecting to see him at halfcourt, but T-Will is already by him.
The Outside Game
The development of Terrence Williams’ outside game is going to be key in taking his game to the next level. Eventually teams are going to play so far off of him that he will be forced to take these shots (we have actually seen teams do this to him before). Here, Williams makes the catch on the wing, and LeBron is the one responsible for closing out on him. You see him hesitate for a second before closing out hard, giving Williams enough time to get a clean look off. Terrence went about getting his outside shots the right way. As a jump shooter, he is never going to be a 45% shooter from the outside. But if he can shoot 30% on jumpers, he will be able to keep defenders honest.
Now I realize this is just one game and T-Will hasn’t really shown the ability to be consistent this year, but he didn’t put up 21 points against the Little Sisters Of The Poor. This is the Cleveland Cavs, a top ten team when it comes to defensive efficiency.