Should Amir Williams Be More Involved in Ohio State’s Offense?Posted by Brendan Brody on November 29th, 2013
After a frustrating first two years in Columbus where the word that might best describe his play would be inconsistency, Amir Williams has been much more of a factor in the first quarter of the year for the #7 Ohio State squad. Through the first five games of the year, Williams is averaging 10.0 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 2.2 BPG on 65.4 percent shooting from the field. Coming into this season, he was a 50.9 percent free throw shooter, but is now knocking those down at a 76.2 percent clip. He’s also shown more engagement and aggressiveness than he has in his first two seasons. Last season he was a starter, but he still only averaged 16.5 MPG and was observed to kind of coast and float through games without making much of an impact other than occasionally blocking a shot or two. Now he is up to 24.2 MPG, and with this he’s been more productive and especially more active on the glass. So with this comes the question for a team that is struggling on offense despite their good start: Should Williams be getting the ball more inside?
In the Wyoming game, Williams got the ball on the block a whopping three times. If you look at his statistical line from the game, you might question my math. He went 5-of-9 from the field and scored 12 points combined with 16 rebounds. But the majority of all his points came from tips and putbacks on the offensive end. Throughout the course of a game where Ohio State probably has at least 60 to 70 possessions, he got the ball in post position three times. If this were a little kid parks and rec league, he might have quit or cried to his parents because the other guys on the team don’t give him the ball. I’m not saying he was hyper-aggressive in his post ups, but there were times they could have dumped it into him quite easily and the guards and wings simply moved the ball around on the outside.
For a team that is shooting 30.0 percent from outside, and 41.8 percent overall, it would be to their benefit to get some easier looks. What better way would there be to get easier looks than to pound the ball inside to their 6’11” center? If they can get teams to consider Williams as an offensive threat with the ball, they’ll have to double down and the Buckeye perimeter players will get much better outside looks than they’ve been getting. Lenzelle Smith Jr. is the only player on the team shooting above 40 percent from deep, but these percentages could very well go up with shots where they don’t have a defender in their faces . Williams is never going to be confused with Hakeem Olajuwon as a master of the post move, but there definitely could be more offensive balance with the Buckeyes. This team is about as elite as they come defensively, but they aren’t going to be able to always shut teams down. A little more balance on that end of the floor might go a long way for a team that has to be considered to be a strong candidate for a trip to the Final Four in a couple of months.