Why Jordan Williams needs another year


Update: Williams is now projected to go 25th on NBADraft.net, one slot above Duke’s Nolan Smith. Also, I neglected to mention the possibility of an NBA lockout Jordan. Best to avoid that, as well. Please.

Jordan Williams is going to test the NBA Draft waters.

I hope the big man from Torrington, Conn., is pulling a Vasquez. For those don’t know, a Vasquez is when you pretend like you are good enough to leave school early for the NBA, then go work out with pro prospects and realize that there are people like Stephen Curry (Or in Williams’s case, say, Harrison Barnes) that are infinitely better than you are in the same draft.

Vasquez tested the waters in 2009, then returned to Maryland, led a very capable team to the second-round of the NCAA tournament and was drafted in the first round in 2010. This would seem to be the best-case scenario for Jordan Williams as well: Come back, lead the team on a successful campaign, establish a track record of domination and position yourself for a superior draft pick.

Now, let’s be real. Jordan Williams is a much better prospect in 2011 than Vasquez was in 2009. He’s got size (6-10) and records (consecutive double-double streak) that Vasquez did not have. But he’s equally unpolished. His shooting, both from the line and mid-range, need serious repair. Vasquez’s problems were more mental: Decision-making flummoxed him, and kind of still does (See his grim shooting numbers during this, his rookie year). Still, he improved.

But because Williams is a better prospect, he actually has more to gain. Because he announced his intentions yesterday, he isn’t yet represented on most mock drafts, but it is hard for me to believe he is any worse a prospect than Kyle Singler, who is projected as the last first-round pick on NBADraft.net. Despite both being college big men, I look at Singler as a Scalabrine and Williams as at least superior Sean May, who by the way, was drafted 13th in 2005 after getting the spotlight in the bright lights of the NCAA tournament.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Williams does not get a first-round pick even in 2011, provided that he works out well in pre-draft workouts. Vasquez wasn’t even a blip on the radar in 2009: Even after a very nice season where was named the best point guard in the country, he still barely cracked the top 30.

But if Baby Muscles comes back and leads Maryland to a 25-win season and a Sweet Sixteen appearance — a guy can dream right? — it stands to reason that Williams could be looking at top-15 in the 2012 draft, as long has he adds that polish to his offense game. That translates to mo’ millions for Muscles.

Mr. Williams, from the land of the Terpins, I can say with confidence it will be better for you, Gary, the state of Maryland and all of Maryland’s obnoxious alumni if you come back. Please, go get messed up in draft workouts and come back to school ready to work. Because I am ready to watch.

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