One of the big questions marks coming into this season was how the Gonzaga frontcourt was going to survive after losing the combination of Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer to the NBA.
Johnathan Williams was going to fill some of that void, but the fact of the matter is you don’t ever completely fill that void. This season, that has been rather apparent. Williams has been a threat on both the offensive and defensive ends, but he is still searching for a bit consistency to really give the Zags the maximum impact from all five spots.
Through 12 games, Williams is averaging 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game in a shade over 20 minutes. The points, and most importantly, the rebounds, are down a bit of what he was doing in Missouri. The points aren’t as needed on this squad, but as we’ve pointed out earlier, the rebounds desperately are.
And that is where we can ding Williams a bit. His 0.8 blocks per game translate to nearly 1.4 blocks per 40 minutes, a huge career high. But that is also coming at a severe price. His defensive rebounding percentage has crashed from 19.1 percent last season to 10.8 percent this season. Granted, he has to share the floor with Przemek Karnowski, so you will lose your opportunities here and there, but overall, Williams was lauded as a fantastic rebounder and we haven’t quite seen that consistently yet.
Consistency has been an issue for Williams this season. Quietly, he put together one of this best games against Florida, going 8-for-9 from the floor to the tune of 16 points in that game. Juxtapose that with the game against Arizona, where he finished with just four points in 31 minutes, largely because he took a mere three shot attempts that game.
Williams is by no means needed to take over, but the Zags can’t have a player on the court for 31 minutes and not attempt more shots than that. There are too many scoring options on this team to have one position go silent for a game.
The potential is there for Williams to light it up as well. His eFG% stands at 62 this season, well over 45.5 percent he posted at Missouri. Williams is an efficient scorer and has been the team’s best offensive rebounder, but they need a bit more from him on the defensive end to shore up the few issues this squad has.