It's time for the Terrence Williams era to begin in Houston.
Williams has yet to play a single minute in six games since being acquired from the New Jersey Nets for a lottery-protect first-round pick. The reasoning behind his initial benching was sound: the Rockets didn't lose any rotation players in the deal, so to quickly shove Williams into an already-cohesive mix would be an unnecessary move.
However, now that Williams has gone through a few practices and has gotten to know his new teammates, there's no sense in prolonging his stint on the pine. The Rockets need to play him and see what happens. If they don't feel comfortable putting him in action against Toronto, there's no reason to play him against the majority of the teams that make up a brutal January schedule. Tonight needs to be the night that Terrence gets some game action.
With Chuck Hayes out for 2-4 weeks, one would think that Patrick Patterson would be the first to reap the benefits of a gap in minutes, but I'm actually banking on Williams to be the primary beneficiary. Jordan Hill will certainly see more minutes at center in Hayes' absence -- obviously leaving some room for Patterson -- but I think it would be smart ofRick Adelman to play Hill at power forward alongside Brad Miller and toss Williams into that rotation.
Williams' strong point isn't his jump shooting, but he's an athletic slasher with a knack for passing. Ideally, he and Miller would help set each other up on the outside and could work off Hill or Luis Scola in the post. MatchingCourtney Lee/Aaron Brooks with Williams and any combination featuring Miller would present a difficult matchup for opposing teams. On defense, the Rockets would feature two capable perimeter defenders in Lee and Williams (who played together in New Jersey), and on offense, two point-players in Williams and Miller that would be able to open up shots for Lee and Brooks on the outside.
Regardless of the lineup into which Williams is placed, it's time for Adelman to try out his shiny new toy. Free Terrence, please.