Just a few weeks ago, Troy Williams was toiling away in D-League obscurity. Now suddenly, the young swingman is staring down the possibility of real playoff minutes with one of the top teams in the NBA.
After the Rockets committed to Williams for the remainder of the year following an initial 10-day deal, he found himself suddenly thrust into the starting lineup due to injuries to Ryan Anderson, Sam Dekker, and James Harden (illness). He’s managed to stick in the rotation ever since.
In those four games, three of them starts, Williams has averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 28.3 minutes per game. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three. He’s had a 21-point game and just last night had a 12-point, 9-rebound performance against Sacramento.
It’s a small sample size, sure, but Williams has made a handful of eye-popping plays in his short time with the Rockets, including knocking six triples in his Houston debut and slamming home a putback against the Denver Nuggets that had him all over the cable TV highlight shows for the evening.
With Dekker out for at least a month, Williams has a real opportunity to earn some court time when the Rockets begin the first round of the playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to head coach Mike D’Antoni, the young wing out of Indiana University is well on his way to contributing to a postseason run. D’Antoni told the Houston Chronicle:
"That's one thing we want to keep looking at and make sure he will be comfortable going into a playoff game. I think he will be. Also, we want to be a little careful about disrupting rotations, but we need to know I can count on him five, 10, 15 minutes, whatever. It's always nice to have one more live body you can go to."
Williams has the ability to create an offensive spark off of the bench, a role Dekker was filling before he went down. And while like Dekker, the inexperienced Williams can be inconsistent, one thing he’s got loads of is energy, which gives him a real chance to make some noise in the Houston system. D’Antoni also told the Chron:
"That's his future. He has to understand on defense you're all geeked up and on offense, calm down a little bit. He's 22-years-old. We can coach him into that. It's better to coach him down. I've never had good luck trying to coach guys up (to have energy.) Either you have it or you don't and he has it."
The NBA playoffs start in less than a week. Williams is about to get the opportunity of a lifetime. Let’s see what he does with it.