Name: Kenrich Williams
Hometown: Waco, TX
Birthday: December 2, 1994
Kenrich Williams Career Stats
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Over the course of his four years at TCU, and three years on the court, Kenrich Williams transformed himself from a scrawny tweener to a dominant forward in one of the toughest basketball conferences in the country. Each year, Williams’ minutes per game, rebounds per game, and steals increased substantially, as did his points per game and three-point shooting percentage.
Williams stands 6’7”, the prototypical size for an NBA small forward. After a senior year that proved he could be a good to very good 3-point shooter at the next level, that would be his ideal position as a pro player. But there are questions as to whether Kenrich has the speed and athleticism to guard small forwards in the NBA - knee injuries have robbed him of some of his explosiveness, and he was never known as a guy who was going to dunk all over you (though he certainly had his moments in 2018).
Williams was a double-double machine for the Horned Frogs, posting a double-digit scoring and rebounding game in 35 of his 102 career games. He is an instinctual rebounder, who excels pulling down offensive boards, and is a pesky defender who does a great job of reading, digesting, and implementing a scouting report against an opponent. Defense at the next level may be a concern due to a negative wingspan and lack of athletic explosiveness, though his willingness to outwork his opponent on that end of the floor may be enough to compensate for his (slight) physical deficiencies.
On offense, Williams’ shooting has improved dramatically over the course of his career, something that he has made a concerted effort to do. He finished in the top five overall of several shooting drills at the NBA Combine, and showed that he can stretch the floor all the way out to the arc. After a workout with the Lakers, Kenny was asked what he’s been focusing on this summer, and it’s obvious he knows what the NBA wants to see. “I want to be a consistent three point shooter. I feel like if I get that consistently, I can have a long career in the NBA.”
Williams is an above-average passer for his position, and was utilized as a point-forward by Jamie Dixon often during his senior season, especially after PG Jaylen Fisher went out with an injury. Though his handle could be considered a weakness, and something he will need to improve, Kenrich is certainly able to initiate the offense and run some point-forward at the next level. He will also need to work on his shot release, it’s a little slow and has a bit of a hitch, but is certainly correctable.
The other concern that NBA teams have is Williams’ advanced age for a rookie; Kenrich turns 24 in December. That brings up concerns about how much he can improve over his first few years in pro ball, though he has proven that he gets better each year as a collegiate player, and most athletes improve once their sport becomes their full-time job.
The thing that Williams brings from day one is toughness and intensity, as he earned the “Kenny Hustle” nickname with his propensity to grab big rebounds, dive for loose balls, pile up deflections, and play hard-nosed defense. That’s something that every team can use, and he can be an exceptional glue guy in the League for years to come.
Kenrich has worked out for seven teams leading up to the draft Thursday night; the Bulls, Hawks, Pistons, Nuggets, Celtics, Lakers, and Knicks have all brought him in. It’s rumored that the Celtics, who do not hold a second round pick, are interested in Williams as well, and may attempt to trade back in to snap him up.
“The Celtics will enter restricted free agency with Marcus Smart this summer and Terry Rozier next year, but Boston’s workouts with first-round caliber players have focused mostly on backcourt players, with Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Okogie and Grayson Allen all potentially in consideration at No. 27. The Celtics are also said to be high on Jalen Brunson as well as projected second-round forward Kenrich Williams,” Woo wrote Friday. “Finding a guard that can step into minutes when the Celtics are eventually forced to move on from one of their guards makes sense at that spot.”
Williams seemed to enjoy his workout in Boston:
TCU's Kenrich Williams said the Celtics’ workout was different from other workouts he has experienced. "This was more based on defense and how tough you are."— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) June 8, 2018
That could be a match made in heaven for both parties.
NBA Draft Projections:
NorthJersey.com: Pick #36 (Knicks)
The Ringer: Pick #37 (Kings)
Knockdown spot-up 3-point shooter with a high release, though he hasn’t shown the ability to hit tougher off-balanced shots after the catch.
Savvy pick-and-roll playmaker. He uses hesitations and deception to create space, and he can make advanced passes through traffic.
Smart glue guy on offense who cuts, crashes the boards, sets screens, and facilitates.
Great rebounder who snatches boards with a combination of instinct, fundamentals, and hustle.
Plays his ass off on defense by fighting through screens, staying focused, and making rotations.
Solid ball handler at the 4, but lacks skills to run the offense, especially when pressured. He turns the ball over frequently in transition.
Subpar shooter off the dribble; he doesn’t create enough separation, and his consistent spot-up mechanics become shaky on the move.
Poor free throw shooter, which is worrisome considering free throw percentage is historically a strong indicator of 3-point shooting ability.
Raw post scorer; he would be well served to develop his skills because of his playmaking. His size could enable him to beat up on smaller guards.
He’ll need to put on more weight to maximize versatility defending larger players, but he can’t afford to lose any of his already average quickness.
Struggles to stay in front of quicker guards on switches due to subpar lateral movement.
Age. He’ll turn 24 as a rookie.
Fansided: Pick #37 (Kings)
Williams’ combine measurements were somewhat disappointing, with a wingspan of just 6-7.25 and a standing reach of 8-7.5, but that stuff was never really Williams’ calling card in the first place. The junior is one of the better all-around prospects in this draft, using a great basketball IQ and positional awareness to impact the game rather than brute athleticism. The Kings desperately need wings like Williams.
At TCU this season, Williams shot 40 percent from distance and was often the team’s lead ball-handler (the perks of a mid-major). He chipped in nearly two assists for every turnover he lost, sparkling numbers for a nontraditional playmaker. He’s a smart ball-mover who will provide value in that category to the team that drafts him. While every lineup needs a certain degree of explosiveness to really be effective, Williams projects as the type of glue player who makes good decisions and efficient plays.
That said, he also looks a lot bigger than the 200 lbs. he measured at in Chicago, and that difference in weight is disappointing when you think about his ability to play up a position as a smaller four in the NBA. If it was going to be a challenge for him to defend the league’s Kevin Love types before, it looks nearly impossible now. Early in his career, Williams will earn time by limiting mistakes, nailing 3s and playing smart defense.
Sacramento could use more solid all-around guys, especially on the wing. They’ve had too many misses in the draft, but it’s hard to imagine someone as sound as Williams on both ends bombing out of the league. This is a good match.
94’ Report: Pick #39 (76ers)
With their second pick in a row, Philly opts for an overlooked and underrated wing prospect in Williams. He’s nearly 24 years old, but he’s a high IQ player with the shooting, team defense and tertiary playmaking ability to help contribute to winning basketball.
Hoops Hype: Pick #47 (Lakers)
Does a little bit of everything on the floor and is a solid all around player who lacks a standout skill and has limited upside to his game.
SI.com: Pick #48 (Timberwolves)
Si.com (Jeremy Woo): Pick #50 (Pacers)
NBADraft.net: Pick #56 (76ers)
Bleacher Report: Pick #57 (Thunder)
Williams isn’t a strong athlete, but he shoots and passes well, and he has NBA size for a forward. He has role-player potential if the right opportunity presents itself.
Tankathon.net: Pick #60 (76ers)
I like the fit of Kenny with the Celtics, and GM Danny Ainge has proven that he is willing to be active in the trade market and on draft night. The Kings could make a perfect partner - the last thing Sacramento needs are more rookies/young players, and the Celtics have some cheap pieces they could part ways with. I think Boston will trade back in at 37 and snap up Williams, who can join Durbin Feltman as former Frogs in Beantown.