Kenny Williams is a 6’4” wing for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Williams has been the Tar Heels' unsung hero throughout his career in Chapel Hill. Despite being overshadowed by the wave of blue chip recruits and surefire NBA prospects that he’s shared the floor with for the past four years, Williams is an intriguing prospect in his own right. As a lockdown wing defender with shooting potential, Williams fits the mold of a highly coveted NBA archetype and will warrant serious looks this summer.
Tale of the Tape
Kenny Williams may not be the offensive focal point for the Tar Heels (14.8 USG%), however, he is a capable, versatile scorer after receiving kick-out passes from driving teammates. Williams has shown an ability to both stick spot-up jumpers from deep and to attack closeouts when run off the line.
Williams has a high release on his jump shot that makes it difficult for defenders to impact his jump shot, even with a solid closeout. Williams is a career 34.2% 3-point shooter over his four seasons at UNC. Last season, Williams converted on 40.2% of his 4.8 looks from deep per game and had nearly identical guarded/unguarded catch-and-shoot efficiency splits. Williams’ volume and efficiency from beyond the arc have both regressed this season, but he still projects to be a solid shooter at the next level.
Despite the aforementioned overall regression from deep, Williams has still thrived as a spot-up threat. Spot-ups account for nearly 25% of Williams’ offensive possessions, a proportion that likely increases as he transitions to the pros. Williams ranks as an 86th percentile spot-up scorer by converting at a 1.124 PPP clip.
Williams was able to convert at such a high clip on these spot-up opportunities in spite of a dip in 3P% by showcasing his versatility as a closeout attacker. Williams’ strong shooting season as a junior led to teams game-planning to run him off the line as a senior. Williams has excelled throughout the season at pump-faking the closeout defender, putting the ball on the deck, and attacking the rim.
Williams is an opportunistic, high-level spot-up decision-maker. He is a decisive, purposeful handler when attacking closeouts, turning it over on only 4.5% of his spot-up possessions.
In the clip below, we highlight Williams’ versatility as a spot-up shooter and closeout attacker.
The regression from three this season isn’t a great sign, but it may be more of a blip on the radar in a small sample than a true indication of Williams’ projectability as a shooter. One promising factor in projecting a shooting efficiency upswing is that Williams’ FT% has improved each passing season, which has shown to have a strong correlation with predicting future jump shooting efficiency.
Guarding in Isolation
Williams may not be the biggest wing defender, but he has grown into one of the most effective perimeter defenders in college basketball. He is highly active on the defensive end while maintaining principled technique and positioning. Williams routinely matches up with the opposition’s most dangerous non-big scoring threat and has locked down a handful of legitimate NBA prospects throughout his career.
When defending in isolation, Williams holds his man to a 0.387 PPP scoring rate, ranking in the 94th percentile. Williams has really quick feet and moves well laterally. He is consistently on the balls of his feet, reacts swiftly to his match-up’s movements, and maintains a deep, fundamental defensive stance as an on-ball defender. He is confident enough in his perimeter defensive chops to get up in the shirt of even the quickest of guards to force them off the line. When his man then tries to blow by him and attack the rim, Williams does a great job of shutting down driving lanes by first sliding into position then utilizing his core and lower body strength to hold his ground and force his match-up into a tough, contested mid-range jumper.
In the clip below, we highlight Williams’ ability to lock down his man in isolation.
Williams has been a three-year starter alongside an array of NBA-caliber teammates at UNC and has proven himself capable of adding value on both ends in a complementary role. His perimeter defensive acumen will almost certainly be his calling card at the outset of his professional career. Williams projects to be in the undrafted free agent mix and land on an NBA Summer League roster. His performance in Vegas could very well have a tangible impact on the beginning of his professional basketball career. If the shooting from deep stabilizes in the upper 30’s, Williams may have a chance of eventually earning a call-up and a shot at the NBA.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.