Latavious Williams, the first ever high school player ever to be drafted from high school into the NBA Development League, took one step closer to his goal Thursday night when the Miami Heat selected him with the 48th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
AOL Fanhouse's Sam Amick reports that Williams was then acquired by the Tulsa 66ers NBA-affiliate Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 21-year-old Williams averaged 11.3 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League playoffs after putting 7.7 points and 7.7 boards during the regular season - showing he improved considerably over the course of the season
Williams didn't seem like he was ready to play at even a D-League level at the beginning of the season (by nearly all accounts, he wasn't), but he improved quite a bit when playing time increased in January through the D-League playoffs in April.
While it has been widely speculated that he can play both forward positions, he has a lot to work onto become more than an "energy forward" in the NBA.
His mid-range jumper did improve over the course of the season, but he still hasn't shown the ability to put the ball on the floor from the wing, nor is he able to shoot off of the dribble to be considered a small forward. I think that his slight build was actually the main reason it was suggested he can play at the small forward, but he seemed to put good weight on from the highlights I'd seen from high school and is probably more like 215 than the 195 he's currently listed at (with room to grow).
If he's able to bring it every night (and notice I have some questions since I used the if qualifier), he's worth at least a late round draft pick this year with his combination of athleticism, rebounding and the ability he's already shown to learn and play in an NBA system against near-NBA players (as opposed to like college players).
Even though Williams had some of the better coaches helping him progress this season, he'll need to put in good work over the Summer to develop his major deficiencies (go-to post moves, being able to put the ball on the floor) so that he can definitely be a high-energy 8th man for an NBA team (that's not necessarily a ringing endorsement, I guess).
As is, he's a 21-year-old raw athlete (think the type of high school athlete that colleges recruit and assign a position later) with some pretty freakish athleticism and a penchant for tip-dunks.