What's happened to WCS?

Discussion in 'Kings Rap' started by Čarolija, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Kingster

    Kingster Well-Known Member

    In last night's game (against the Clipps) Grant and Jerry reported that WCS has signed himself up for a boot camp run by a former navy seal that he will attend, not once, but twice, first in May, then later in the summer. He's doing this in order to get "mentally tougher." To me, that speaks volumes to his dedication and to a courageous self appraisal of where he needs work. If these camps are anywhere close to navy seal type training, it's going to be brutal. I had some trepidation that WCS might rest on his laurels somewhat after his nice rebounding stint at the end of the year. I don't have any such trepidation any longer. I find it incredibly impressive that he would put himself through this kind of pain in the off-season in order to get better.
  2. LPKingsFan

    LPKingsFan Well-Known Member

    Wonder if it's the trainer mentioned in this article: http://www.foxsports.com/north/stor...h-weeks-of-hell-with-navy-seal-trainer-093014

    I had a friend who played basketball in college and overseas who trained with this guy (and Griffin). It's no joke.
    Kingster and Sac.1989 like this.
  3. ppine

    ppine Well-Known Member

    If you want to be good in the NBA you need a ton of self-confidence. If you doubt yourself you lose. I like Willie's attitude. He realizes that with a Coach like J he can become a better player than he thought. He is ready to put in the summer work. Willie has a lot of physical gifts that cannot be taught. It is possible for him to a 20 point/12 rebound player every night. I am starting to really like the guy.
  4. gunks

    gunks Well-Known Member


    I'd be happy with 14/9 and killer defense.

    He really finished the year strong though. So I get where the crazy optimism is coming from!

    I would love for WCS to go all in on defense. Gobert is the reason The Jazz are as good as they are. I'm not saying WCS can be the rediculous defensive savant that Gobert is (honestly the best since Prime Big Ben on that side of the court), but if he wants to he can be a damn menace for us on defense.

    Work your magic Joerger.
  5. 206Fan

    206Fan Well-Known Member

    I really don't know why, but Willie has been a below-average rim protector. Despite being advertised as an elite shot-blocker, we still haven't seen that skillset in the NBA.

    Willie is actually surprisingly bad on defense. Through this season, he's allowed 55.1% FG. Out of 84 guys who are at least 6'10, and played at least 15mpg, Willie ranks 15th worst. 15/84.....
    http://stats.nba.com/players/defens...ason&sort=DEF_RIM_FG_PCT&dir=1&Height=GT 6-10

    I thought to myself, "Well hey, Willie had a revival after the Cousins trade. Maybe he's been a lot better since then?". Nope, he was worst at 59.1%!

    I'd rather Willie focus and improve on his defense rather than adding onto his offense. All we need him to do is block shots, rebound, and finish above the rim.
    KingsFanGER, biltalent and gunks like this.
  6. biltalent

    biltalent Well-Known Member

    Exactly. He has done a complete 180° from his college scouting report that had him as a great defender but garbage man on the offensive side. Now he has developed an offensive game but is not good on defense anymore. He has always struggled guarding the three point line but now his rim protection has taken a big hit too.

    Since I'm very big on rim protection I wouldn't be opposed to trying to upgrade the C spot. If Markannen and Collins are available at #10 I wouldn't mind going with Collins.
  7. ppine

    ppine Well-Known Member

    Plenty of great college players can't play defense in the NBA without a lot of work. The players are just too skilled. Willie can get his defense back. He is showing signs of being a dominant rebounder. His offense already exceeds the advertising. He can become a complete player that can change games. He is still young.
  8. Tetsujin

    Tetsujin The Game Thread Dude

    The thing about Willie is that he has absolutely unprecedented, unteachable defensive skills unseen in a guy his size before. Laterally, he moves like a shooting guard. You can switch him onto to almost anyone on the court and expect him to stay in front of his man. Unfortunately for him in the second half of the season, the guys around him largely didn't understand how to play with him on defense.

    Skal had a bad tendency to lose his man anytime he wasn't in the general vicinity of the ball, generally drifting to the paint (thus taking away prime shot blocking opportunities for Trill) and misplaying pick-and-rolls like a rookie season Jason Thompson.

    Buddy also had his fair share of defensive issues (not even counting how Willie is a faster defender than he is) and really struggled with his awareness at times, also misplaying pick-and-rolls at great frequency.

    Papa may have been the best defender of the rookie crew but he's still limited by (a) his age, (b) still carrying excess baby fat. Still not able to really play on his heels at NBA speed, he spent a lot of time as a rim protector (and was actually pretty good at it), thus taking away more chances for Willie to be a rim protector.

    It's not that Willie suddenly forgot to block shots, it's more like his skills aren't exactly conducive to being a Serge Ibaka-esque rim protector. Not to make lofty comparisons but Tyson Chandler is probably example a of a really good big defender who never really blocked shots like you'd expect and in this modern NBA I'm not so sure that we'll been Willie's shotblocking more than his ability to close out on perimeter guys like a supersized Ron Ron.
  9. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    Fair enough - there is hope for Willie. But when you watch the Bucks versus the Raptors and keep asking yourself why a presumedly 20 year old and super thin Thon Maker can be a disruptive force on D just with sheer effort and aggressiveness it brings things into a different perspective. Now I don't watch enough Bucks basketball to know, if Maker brings this kind of effort on D every game, but I know that I personally can't remember a single game from Willie, where I had the impression that he is all over the place on D and really impacted things. Maker and Willie are entirely comparable from a physical standpoint and I personally want Willie to play like this in most of his games - a super mobile, super long big, cutting of penetration, blocking shots and playing passing lanes. Maker didn't seem to care, if he is touching the ball at all on offense. He was given his all on D just trying to do, what he can do at this stage of his career.
    Joshoua, 206Fan, CelticsFan and 2 others like this.
  10. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    To some degree, I can understand where some of you are coming from. To many of you, defense means blocking shot after shot. Protecting the rim is the what turns people on. Willie is a different kind of player. If anyone had to listen to the Clipper broadcast as I was forced to do because the Clips and the Lakers are blacked out on NBA TV in my area, then you would have heard Don McLean in the 2nd half raving about Willie, and what a rare defender he is. He said that Willie is the best ball stoppiing big man in the entire NBA.

    The regular announcer mentioned that Willic doesn't block shots like Jordan. McLean said that blocking shots is overrated and that Jordan can't do what Willie does. He said that Willie is a gap filler. He leaves his man and stops the ball where ever there's a break down in the defense, and then gets back to his man before the ball can be passed to him. Sometimes two or three times in the same sequence. He predicted that Willie would eventually be one of the best defensive big men in the NBA. He did mention that Willie does on occasion make a mistake on switchs and the Kings end up with two players guarding the same man. But thats about it.

    When Willie started his career at Kentucky, Calapari had him positioned in the post, and he blocked a lot of shots. But in his second year, he started having him switch out on SF's and SG's because Willie could stay in front of them, and his size negated their ability to get of a shot. As a result, he didn't block as many shots, and his rebounding numbers went down. Willie was the main pick and roll defender, and was probably the best pick and roll defender in college.

    If you want to pass judgement on Willie's defense, then you have the watch only him on defense and see what he does. Willie is the team band-aid. He plugs holes where ever they appear. Sometimes that leaves him out of position. If you only see the out of position part. or the failure of a teammate to switch when Willie leaves his man, you'll think it's Willies fault. Most of the time, it's not! Keep track of how many times you see an opposition player wide open at the three point line. Keep track of who is doing the run out at him. About 50% of the time, it's Willie, but it's not Willie's man. In the last game, Griffin only scored once on Willie in the post, and he didn't score once with Willie guarding him away from the basket. Unfortunately Skal couldn't say the same thing.
  11. hrdboild

    hrdboild Well-Known Member

    The issue I've always had with Willie is that it's hard to quantify his value to a team. It's true he's very good at containing dribble penetration off of switches. And he's improving his awareness of when to give up position and when not to under Dave Joerger (George Karl's switch everything all the time gameplan was a nightmare that was so all-encompassing that it's hard to blame the players for it). But how does that make him more valuable than a defensive specialist like Mbah a Moute (a 5-6 million per year journeyman)? And if he's not blocking shots or grabbing a lot of defensive boards (he's improved in that area considerably of late) than his size advantage is negated too which basically makes him a 7 foot small forward with a sloppy handle and a shaky jumper.

    This is a touchy subject for some reason so I'm wary of writing anything at all about him because it always gets misinterpreted as "hate" rather than constructive criticism. I think he can improve on his lower body strength to the point where he can hold position in the post and his length alone will alter shots if he can hold position. I also think he can develop his mid-range jumper into a consistent weapon and he's always going to be able to get a few baskets a game just by making himself a target for lobs and dropoff passes. PGs are going to love having him on the floor for easy assists. But I said both before and after the draft (and I stick by this) that people expecting him to be some kind of DPOY game-changing force like Rudy Gobert either haven't watched him play very much or they've just been oversold on his overall impact. A smart defender who can blow up pick and rolls is a legitimate weapon. He'll always have a place in an NBA rotation with that skill alone but it may not be in a starter's role. Willie's unique defensive skillset is his blessing and his curse because it's what gives him value but also why I can see him being pushed aside if the opportunity comes up to acquire a true rim protector to slide into that C role.
    CelticsFan, biltalent and 206Fan like this.
  12. Suicide King

    Suicide King Well-Known Member

    People want something tangible like highlight dunks, deep three's, a shot swatted into the stands or eye popping rebound numbers. If people can't see it with their eyes they tend to devalue it.

    His rebounding was the critique du jour and it seems like Willie is making great effort to change his mindset towards them. He is a promising piece going forward and I hope to see more growth in year three.

    Like already stated his impact is hard to quantify. A player deciding to kick out rather than attempt to score on Willie wont show on stat sheets. I like Willie for what he is now and what he can still become. Not for what he was labeled to be or what we expect because of his physical attributes. Time will tell if he can elevate his game further on both sides of the court.
  13. hrdboild

    hrdboild Well-Known Member

    There's something to this though. A dunk, a 3pt basket, a steal, a defensive rebound, and (often) a blocked shot all end possessions. Forcing a guard to kick out instead of driving to the basket is important for team defense but it also doesn't end a possession. If the other team ends up with a good shot anyway or maybe an offensive board, that defensive possession was still a failure. So it's a part of the defensive gameplan and something that you need as a team but also hard to measure in terms of impact. That's what makes a guy like Willie difficult to quantify for me. I totally get what he does and why it's important. It's just hard for me to determine how much value that skill has in a 7 footer because it's usually something you look for in a wing defender. My general impression is that Willie is a difficult guy to project because he won't really become an impact defender until he's consistently tough on the defensive glass and shows that he can body up other team's bigs. What works in his favor though is the current trend of teams copying Golden State by going smaller and quicker on the frontline. That's an environment where a defender like Willie can thrive.

    This is also why it doesn't make sense to me to just call a guy a "good defender" and then not go into the specifics of what he does well (which is what tends to happen in the draft). Myles Turner is already one of the best shotblockers in the league -- and he was the better rim protector between the two in college. That doesn't make him the better defender per se, but his impact is easier to quantify. And I think that rim protection game is what most people were actually thinking of when they said that Willie was going to transform our defense, hence my incredulousness at the time.
    biltalent, Suicide King and 206Fan like this.
  14. Suicide King

    Suicide King Well-Known Member

    No, I agree with you completely. My point is rather than trying to fit him into a specific mould, give ihim time to create his own. Turner is a hell of a player and we aren't the only team that missed. I have a feeling Willie was chosen because he would likely fit in the speed racer tempo game Karl liked to run, as much as for any other reason.
    Tetsujin likes this.
  15. 206Fan

    206Fan Well-Known Member

    This is exactly what I was thinking. Willie has the defensive skillset for a...wing defender.

    I don't think Willie has been an impactful defender yet. Baja brought up the point that Willie was really good at coming out at the ball handler, then recovering. Funny enough, I think that's one of his biggest flaw on defense sometimes. He unnecessary switches onto ball handlers, leaving his man wide open when he doesn't recover in time. Right now, I just don't think there's a lot of value with the type of defense Willie brings in. He's basically a defensive player who does great on switches...but what else does he give you? He's not strong enough(yet) to defend the post. He constantly positions himself away from the rim due to over-helping. He hasn't shown a lot of shotblocking instincts in the NBA.

    Willie has high defensive potential, but he's been underwhelming for me on that end. I guess that's the tradeoff for his offense?
  16. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    I think people criticizing Willie for his defense isn't related all that much to his shotblocking numbers, but more that it feels like Willie isn't playing with full force on that end.
    I hated the sometimes lackluster effort of DMC on D. The way he picked his spots on which shot he would contest and when he would allow an open layup or dunk, because he literally gave up on the play. Not that DMC was a bad defender, but you always had the feeling, that he could be so much better, if he only would play all out at all times. Now with DMC there was always the risk of foul trouble and he was so important for our team, that the risk of picking up fouls was a valid excuse for picking his spots on D.
    But now Willie often seems to do the same thing. And Willie isn't DMC, although like DMC he isn't a bad defender. But he is a guy that should defend aggressively until he picked up his 6th foul. But instead he isn't contesting shots, he should be able to contest, or he isn't moving his feet but gives the penetrating guard a lazy, weak bump. Until late in the season and even though his teammates seemed to be in his ears for a long time, he basically didn't give his all when it came to rebounding.
    Let's be honest - having a controlled but aggressive mindset is often what makes or breaks a good defender. So far I don't see that kind of mindset in Willie.
    I'm not convinced so far, that Willie really wants to play defense and do the dirty work. I realize how physically gifted he is, but there just seems to be something wrong, or maybe I'm simply impatient. (Although like I said - Maker looked more like a defensive presence in limited minutes at age 20, than Willie did with starters minutes and at age 23/ but I get it - only one game.)
  17. Suicide King

    Suicide King Well-Known Member

    I respect everyones opinion and I know its TDOS for us, but lets not start shipping any youth out yet. Wait till after the draft at least.
  18. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    No - it would be downright insane to give up on another prospect and trade Willie. I just hope the coaching staff or the veterans are getting after Willie, constantly challenging him to become more aggressive. We need him. We can't afford to have just another miss in the draft. I think Willie needs to realize, that he isn't out there to shine or to be the star. He can't approach the game in a way an absolutely gifted player like DMC can. It doesn't matter how often he touches the ball or which role he plays on offense. For Willie it's all about using his physical gifts to the fullest. It's not about dribble moves or fancy spin moves. It's about effort, defense and rebouding. Everything else is just the icing on the cake. If he has the foundations down, he should absolutely work on his offense, but why try to do more, before he has become the fundamentally sound and uniquely gifted defensive player he has every chance to become? If he embraces the role of a defensive enforcer and playmaker, he will earn max money. If he continues to play halfhearted on that end and puts too much focus on the offensive side of the ball, it might hurt his career.
    Suicide King likes this.
  19. jcassio

    jcassio Well-Known Member

    Willie has an easy-going-style that will always make some people think he's not trying hard enough, or not being aggressive enough. But that's his hardwiring. Just as his desire to be a complete player is part of his hardwiring. I think we saw improvement in all areas of Willie's game this year - with one exception: he continues to switch too often. This is partly because he's so physically gifted and can do what few others can. But he often takes it too far. I'm confident, however, that his decision-making on when to switch and when not to switch will improve with experience. And with the experience (and improvement) of his teammates.
  20. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    Why try to make Willie style of play something nebulous, that only a chosen few can entirely understand? Willie's game is nothing uncommon in todays NBA. His style of defense is nothing uncommon or special. The only thing that is special is, that Willie is actually 7 ft tall, while most guys playing that kind of defense are around 6'8 to 6'9. There are a few "genetic freaks" like Willie able to move with extraodrinary footspeed and great coordination for guys their size - Giannis Antetokoumbo, Thon Maker (the raw tools are there, it remains to be seen if he ever develops beyond those raw tools), Kevin Durant for example. Those guys are rare. But it's not that coming out to contain a smaller player in the pick&roll or to switch on a smaller player is something breathtakingly new.
    Willie looks like he isn't trying hard enough, because he isn't trying hard enough. No need to make things overly complicated.
    Has he improved? Yes in the rebounding area (late in the season for reasons only he knows), on offense and he had a few very decent defensive games.
    But he has not developed to a point, where we should simply take a step back and say, that he simply has an easy going style, because that's his hardwiring and everybody has to be ok with that.
    Different mindsets - different problems! :oops:;)
    I hope Willie comes out of his "Navy seals" or "urban ninja" workout or whatever the hell he plans to attend this summer and embraces his inner warrior. When this happens the league needs to watch out.
  21. King Baller

    King Baller Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  22. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    I think one of the points I was trying to make, is what Willie accomplishes on the court, is dependent on how he's used. As I said, his first year at Kentucky, he was used exclusively in the post, and as a result, he blocked a lot of shots. So if your looking for a shotblocker, he can do that. But if your going to use him the way the Kings are using him right now, to stop penetration where ever it pops up, then it's hard for him to block a lot of shots because he spends a lot of time on the perimeter.

    Gobert is a great shotblocker, but you don't see him hanging out on the perimeter much. When we had Cuz, Gobert was willing to give Cuz his perimeter shots. Look, I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement. Of course there is, and I think it will come, little by little. But I also think we have to remember that players on the court are trying to do what the coach is asking of them, not what the fans may want. Of course Willie needs to get stronger. I, you, the coaching staff, and Willie all know that. Willie just finished his second year, and most of his career so far has been under the shadow of Cousins. I'm not saying that in a negative way, but that it makes a difference in how Cousins teammates approach the game.

    Willie admitted that he was looking over his shoulder every time he made a mistake. And rightly so, with Cuz sitting on the bench. Now that's gone, and in his mind, and that's the one that counts, he's had a weight lifted off of him. Thus we've seen a dramatic improvement in his game since the trade. One can argue that it shouldn't matter, but it doesn't work like that. Anything that mentally affects your game in a negative way will slow down your progress. This is probably a conversation we should have a couple of years from now, when Willie is more of a finished product. By the way, I don't think of you as a hater. Your criticisms have merit. You also have an open mind.
  23. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    Did it ever occur to you that Willie is doing what he's doing because that's what the coaching staff wants him to do? Does everyone think that players have carte blanche to do whatever they want on offense and defense. Some do, but their usually named Jordan, or Wade etc. Not Willie!! I might also add, that if Willie leaves his man, to stop the ball, one of his teammates is supposed to switch to Willie's man. Cousins used to blow his stack over that very issue, and rightly so. Cuz used to step up and stop the ball, and wa la, the man he left would dunk behind his back. It's called defensive switching.

    That's why bad defensive teams allow penetration all over the place, because the interior players don't trust one another to cover for each other on a switch. So they just stay home and let the penetration happen. Too many time Willie, or any big we have on the floor is stuck with deciding which of two players he should defend. He should never be put in that position. If he leaves his man to stop the ball at the rim, he's also leaves his man open. If he stays with his man, then the player with the ball has an open lane to the basket. Which ever decision he makes, he's going to look bad if the result is a basket, and it's not really his fault. The fault starts on the perimeter. Amazing how the blame always goes to the big man.
  24. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    Second year in league:
    R. Gobert: 8.4 PPG - 60.4% FGP - 62.3% FTP - 9.5 RPG - 1.3 APG - 0.8 SPG - 2.3 BPG
    D. Jordan: 4.8 PPG - 60.5% FGP - 37.5% FTP - 5.0 RPG - 0.3 APG - 0.2 SPG - 0.9 BPG
    WCS: 8.1 PPG - 53.0% FGP - 66.9% FTP - 4.5 RPG - 1.1 APG - 0.7 SPG - 0.6 BPG
    WCS last 25 games:
    12.9 PPG - 50.3% FGP - 71.1% FTP - 8.1 RPG - 2.1 APG - 1.1 SPG - 0.8 BPG

    Obviouisly Willie has become more aggressive and has stepped up his game since the trade. Except for his blocks average, all his other numbers are very close to Gobert's and better than Jordan's when comparing his last 25 games against their 2nd year averages. Of course we have to see if Willie can maintain, and improve on those numbers. I might add that Jordan didn't become the Jordan we all know and love until his sixth year in the league. His first five years in the league he averaged only 6.4 rebounds a game. He didn't become a double/double machine until his sixth year.
  25. Kingz19

    Kingz19 Well-Known Member

    I was very brutal on Willie earlier in the year but I'm pretty excited about him now.

    He really is an up and comer. On his good offensive nights you saw an Amare Stoudemire type on offense. I said that after his game vs Denver but then thought I was overreacting but as more games went by I started to think it more though he never matched that game. Willie being a 20 per game scorer is not a stretch. His offensive game is noticeably expanding (mid-range shots, plays off the dribble) and on a team with good spacing and guys who can make plays...he can be an Amare-esque type and if you think I'm going too far..get ready..I think he can be BETTER than Amare, especially if that mid range shot becomes a consistent aspect of his game. Willie is a good passer and he'll be a better defensive player.

    I'm thinking of a cross between Amare Stoudemire and pre-injury Joakim Noah..so please don't go down the laundry list of everything Amare did that Willie may not..like Amare did get to the line pretty frequently and likely more willing to absorb contact(but Amare was also kaput at age 30) I don't see that for Willie but I wouldn't expect him to score as much as Amare(who had huge scoring seasons) but far more than a Noah. I think a Stoedemire and Noah hybrid is more valuable than either.

    So all the "I just hope he can be a mere rotation player that can play defense, throw down lobs, and get some garbage buckets" is underselling what his real ceiling is and I'd actually be disappointed If he was just that. Even though that's what he was at Kentucky, you see him blooming into more than that. Kings drafted him to be a DeAndre Jordan but when he fully come into his own..he'all be killing it on pick n rolls while stifling pick n rolls on the other end.

    All it will take is Willie to keep working and of course the Kings not remaining a cluster F of poor spacing and lack of continuity that sabotages its own talent and coaching staffs.
    Willie seems determined.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  26. ppine

    ppine Well-Known Member

    The positions players end up playing in the NBA are largely determined by who they can guard. Willie can be a point forward. He is a good passer and an offensive threat. The defense will come with more work. At the NBA level a lot team defense is required. Skal and Papa still get beat often and have plenty of work to do, but they have physical skills. Papa is a little slow afoot, but at the 5 he will learn to cover the position. Both Skal and Willie are long with extreme hop. They both play the vertical game, as opposed to Cousins who is a lateral player.

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