Alan Williams will not be a Rocket. Not this year anyway, after the Summer League standout signed a one-year deal with Qingdao in China last week. It's very expected, but it's also a shame, because he is super fun.
Alan Williams is a 6-8 bull of a center, kind of like Joey Dorsey but with more finesse and less athleticism. He dominated Summer League, being named to the official second team and being named to Sports Illustrated's first team. In his last game of the summer, he had 22 points and 21 rebounds, the second-most in Summer League history. TWENTY-ONE REBOUNDS in 31 minutes of game action. I'll insert again here that he is 6-8.
He had done it the entire week in Vegas, too. He opened the whole thing by dropping 27-and-10 on the D-League Select, and looked like the biggest, baddest dude on the court when I saw him in person. He's a 6-8, 260-pound bull of a man, and the other professional and semi-professional athletes who matched up with him could only bounce off of him as he prepared for a second and third leap. If he didn't miss about three or four layups a game on an impossible number of second chances, he might have led Vegas in scoring, too.
After the first game, I asked him what the Rockets coaches had told him they wanted to see from him. "Rebounding the basketball, being aggressive on defense, trying to get the guards in place on the pick and roll coverage, and making layups," he said. That's exactly what he did, except for the last part, and now he's getting paid for it.
The Rockets just don't have a place for him on their roster. They haven't officially signed any of Jason Terry, Montrezl Harrell or Chuck Hayes — their expected remaining moves — but they have 12 players under guaranteed contracts for this coming season already. Assuming they complete all those moves, that's 15 dudes, and there's no spot for Williams. In case one of those three guys doesn't sign, Christian Wood has a partially guaranteed deal that the Rockets could pick up, and that's 15 dudes. There was no spot for him.
The optimist in me had wished he wouldn't chase the money, would spend time in Rio Grande this year and maybe come up on a 10-day during the season, at worst coming in next year when one or more of Motiejunas, Jones, Harrell or (god forbid) Howard isn't back next year. But from all I've heard and seen about him, he deserves his paycheck.
I have little doubt he will tear up the Official League of Stephon Marbury™, and also little doubt we will see him, at the very least, in Vegas next year, and possibly on an NBA roster. China pays better than the rookie minimum, which is likely all he was offered stateside. I wish him well, and hope he returns. We'll always have Summer League