NBA

Future or Fraud: Mikey Williams

Name: Mikey Williams 

Birthdate: June 26th 2004 (17 years old) 

Class: 2023

Height: 6’3 (190 CM)  

Weight: 195 (88 KG)

Wingspan: 6’7 (200 CM)

Position: Shooting Guard 

National Ranking (247sports): #3

School: Lame Norman Christian & Vertical Academy (NC)

Hometown: San Diego, California 

Since the rise of the Ballislife and Overtime High School basketball era, there have been few High School ballers as hyped up as Mikey Williams.  Since breaking the San Diego section scoring record, tallying 77 points in one game as a Freshman, Mikey’s popularity within the online space has rocketed, garnering 3.2 million Instagram followers and a cult following of mostly teenaged girls on TikTok, in just 2 and half years. Along with his immense popularity on social media, Mikey has also made quite a name for himself in the High School Basketball scene as well. Ranking 7th on ESPN’s class of 2023 Top 60, 5th on 247sports class of 2023 Top 50, and 14th on Rivals.com 2023 Top 100, for an average ranking of 8.6. These rankings along with his dominance at the High School level have gotten many to label him a future lottery pick or even a future NBA star. But as we’ve seen before from the likes of Trevon Duval and Isaiah Washington (Founder of JellyFam) both members of the 2017 class, high national rankings and a significant online following do not matter one bit when it comes to succeeding at the next level. Welcome to the first installment of Future or Fraud, an article series on which I watch film and give yall my assessment on highly-touted High School hoopers all around the world and ultimately give them a label of Future or Fraud.

SCORING

0 – 3 feet scoring (At the rim)

While watching Mikey’s Sophomore season film, the part of Mikey’s game that impressed me the most was his under-the-basket and over-the-basket finishing. While Mikey may not be a good or furthermore an average shooter at that (will talk about that later). Mikey’s ability to get to the rim and finish is certainly impressive. In tandem with his jump out the gym leaping ability, Mikey’s fluidity and body control at such a young age make his potential as a finisher sky high. Lake Norman Christian (NC) often ran a play that involved teammate Trey Green going to an elbow where then he’d lob it as Mikey is cutting backdoor and the concept is for Mikey to be able to dunk it. Although this is at a High School level, for a coach to have so much confidence in your athletic ability and consistently call such a bizarre play speaks volumes on Mikey’s in-game dunking / over-the-rim finishing ability. Where Mikey needs to improve in this aspect of his game is his core and lower body strength. While Mikey’s ability to finish through contact is impressive, I found that he would often get pushed around by bigs down low which would intern force him to take a difficult shot. Another weakness of Mikey’s in finishing in the restricted area is his shot selection, while we will talk more on this later, Mikey’s blatant idiocy at times and urge to force up a shot that’s clearly not there is a sizable weakness that may be a roadblock to him succeeding at the next level. 

4 – 10 feet scoring (In between)

Kentucky Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Calipari has gone on record multiple times stating that every small Guard needs to have a floater or some form of an in-between game to be successful. And who would know more about developing Guards? Calipari who’s been the Wildcat’s Commander since April of 2009 has produced 18 NBA-level Guards including the likes of Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox, and Shai Gilgeous – Alexander. As of right now and for the likelihood of his career, Mikey will always fall into the small Guard sector of Guards, meaning that he needs a floater or in-between game and THAT HE HAS!! While Mikey did not attempt many floaters his Sophomore season, it seemed like he made everyone he did. He was automatic! Mikey flashed the ability to hit floaters from many different spots on the court and arm angles, both stationary and on the move. Out of any part of Mikey’s scoring that I’m confident in for the long term and believe will translate to the next level, it’s without a doubt his in-between game. 

11 – 16 feet scoring (mid range)

Widely seen as a lost art within the game in 2021, pre Stephen Curry and the 3 point revolution that came with him the mid-range shot dominated. Just 20 years ago during the 2000/01 season, 32.8% of all shots attempted were long 2’s, now in 2021 that number has dropped to just 17%. While very few have mastered the middy ball such as Chris Paul (5.5 FGA on 51.6% FG%), Kevin Durant (5.1 FGA on 50.6% FG%), Joel Embiid (5.6 FGA on 49.1% FG%), and Brandon Ingram (5.8 FGA on 47.5% FG%) outside of these guys it’s very few and far between you’ll find an efficient mid-range shooter so it’s safe to say the mid-range is dead. Now you may be wondering why I’ve even elected to discuss Mikey’s mid-range shooting after deeming the shot dead, well the reason for that is the player I project Mikey to be (which is subject to change, since the guy hasn’t even hit a college campus yet lol) will need to have an average to above-average mid-range shot for him to succeed at the college level let alone the NBA. Up until now, I’ve been relatively positive and complimentary of Mikey’s game, but this is where it halts (at least for now). Without a shadow of a doubt, I can 100% say Mikey is the worst mid-range shooter I’ve ever scouted in my entire life and that’s at all 3 levels of scouting (High School, College & Pro).  Although from the eye test (couldn’t find any stats to verify) Mikey does appear to be an inefficient mid-range shooter, that’s not even the main issue with this aspect of his shooting, the issue is his idiotic urge to take a lot of contested ones which once again brings up his faulty shot selection. All in all, I don’t rate Mikey’s mid-range game one bit and needs immediate work done on it for the type of player he is now, but if anyone can clean it up it’s Ryan Razooky, Mikey’s trainer. 

16 + feet (3 points) 

Much like the last paragraph on Mikey’s mid-range shooting, as of right now he is not a good 3 point shooter. But unlike the last paragraph, there are enough flashes that give me hope for Mikey’s potential as a deep ball shooter. First and foremost, Mikey’s fluidity and body control not only helps him in contorting his body when driving to the rim but also as a movement shooter which Mikey’s shown promise in as well. Secondly, Mikey’s off-the-dribble shooting is also promising, he looks extremely controlled and poised when he is creating one, already possessing a variety of dribble moves to get himself a shot that he wants. Additionally, Mikey’s shooting form is amongst the best and most polished in the country, he elevates extremely well and has a high release point which is very important for a player his size. Now what makes me say Mikey is a poor 3 point shooter right now is the aforementioned putrid shot selection. It’s as if he goes completely tunnel-visioned at times and forgets the dribble moves I mentioned earlier, and takes a low % shot i.e. a contested 30 footer. 

Free throw line 

Unfortunately, I was unable to bring up Mikey’s full Lake Norman free throw shooting averages but per theseasonticket.com Mikey shot 62.5% from the charity stripe which certainly doesn’t make him Steve Nash, but is reasonable for a Junior.

PLAYMAKING 

Passing

To put it simply, Mikey Williams is not a true Point Guard, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad passer. What I mean by that is Mikey just doesn’t possess the instincts nor does he possess the skill of a primary ball-handler and distributor as of right now, but most certainly has the upside of a secondary. Mikey often forces passes that are not there and makes terrible reads when going downhill. Where he thrives in the passing game the most is as a connective tissue passer, a guy able to make quick, easy yet positive passes for an offense. Ofc putting him in that role would require hiding him a bit thus making him solely an off-ball player, but that is contradictory to his best ability, which is scoring and he is a much better scorer with the ball in his hands. That is the dilemma of Mikey Williams as a passing Guard. As a passer, Mikey, however, does have some flashes of being able to maybe be more than just a connector but as of right now that’s all he is and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

DEFENSE

On ball

Mikey certainly has the will to be a good on-ball defender, he often guards the opposition’s best Guard and even took the challenge of containing Emoni Bates a player significantly bigger than him on February 6th, 2021 when Lake Norman upset Ypsi prep.  But if you were to ask me if Mikey as of writing this article “Is Mikey Williams a good defender?) my answer would sadly be no. Although his fluidity and lateral quickness give me hope that sometime in the future he may develop to be a + on defense, as of right now he is indeed a -. When defending on-ball and specifically when defending on the perimeter the common rule of thumb is to keep your guy in front of you and don’t open your hips early allowing a driving lane for you man thus putting you on his back while he’s in the painted area which is known as basketball jail (well that and being drafted by the Pelicans). Mikey doesn’t follow any of that it seems, he often opens his hips immediately, ignoring his athletic gifts and ability to move laterally fluidly while not drawing a foul. Mikey’s lack of discipline is truly the reason why I believe he is a poor defender as of right now, and with a little bit more experience, that should change. 

Off ball

Unlike Mikey’s on-ball defense, It seems that he has no will to be an off-ball defender. While watching Mikey’s film, I found that he often looked uninterested and eager to just get on offense already while in an off-ball defending scenario. He seldom affected any possessions when he wasn’t the primary defender, was late on rotations, and appeared to be plain lost. The key to being an average, if not good, off-ball defender in my eyes, is constant energy and high awareness no matter where you are on the court, and as of right now, Mikey is severely lacking in those compartments. 

VERDICT

Future or Fraud 

Before I give my verdict on Mikey Williams, let me first explain to you what being a future or a fraud means. Being labeled a future in this series means that the prospect in question has shown enough for me to acknowledge how good he is and deem him a future star. Now as for being labeled a fraud, which means the prospect that is being written about is a product of social media hype and Overtime overrating them. So as for my verdict on this week’s prospect in question Mikey Williams, keep in mind that Mikey is only 17 so this is final and may change in the future if he does improve. I Wen’S Bien-Aime, the judge and the juror of the Mikey Williams, Future or Fraud case, see him as a Fraud. The reasoning behind this is Mikey’s poor decision-making, low basketball IQ, and terrible defense, among a host of other things. 

Hello, Thank You for reading, if you wish to contact me my email is wsbienaime@gmail.com another way you can contact me is through Twitter @__wens__ via DM’s. 

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