The 2017-18 NBA season has ended for five of the eight former Indiana Hoosiers that registered statistics in the league this year. Today marks the fourth in a series of more in depth reviews of their respective seasons as we discuss former Hoosier high flyer Troy Williams.
Troy Williams arrived in Bloomington from Hampton, Virginia for the 2013-14 season. With a reputation as a great athlete that could attack the basket, Williams found a role immediately with the Hoosiers. While erratic at times, especially early in his IU career, Williams improved each year and by his junior season he became a more reliable veteran.
Among many memorable moments during his junior season, he had a second half outburst against Notre Dame that helped to turn around that season, and a 23 point effort against Maryland in a game that sealed the outright Big Ten title. He also introduced himself to Purdue’s Isaac Haas.
Williams was originally signed by Memphis as an undrafted rookie free agent in October 2016. Despite showing promise with the Grizzlies, he was released in the middle of the 2016-2017 season and then picked up by Houston. He bounced between Houston and Rio Grande of the G-League the remainder of 2017. He also won the 2017 D-League Dunk contest.
WILLIAMS’ 2017-18 SEASON
Williams saw very limited action with the Rockets during the 2017-18 season, and he struggled when opportunities arose. He appeared in 19 games for Rio Grande, averaging 19.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.9 steals over 29.1 minutes.
In our feature on Williams’ fellow IU 2013 recruiting classmate Noah Vonleh, we highlighted how a change of scenery was just what the doctor ordered. In what at first seemed unfortunate, Williams was waived by Houston after appearing in only four games. But only days later he was signed by the Knicks in a turn of events that proved to be fortuitous.
The Knicks signed Williams to a 10-day contract in February and he played well off the bench. He earned a second 10-day contract before the Knicks signed him to a deal through the end of the season with some partially guaranteed money into next year.
He had a disappointing and painful early end to the season, as with only 5 games left, he suffered a fractured jaw.
Here are Williams’ complete statistics for the 2017-18 season:
Games played/started – 21/1
Points – 6.3 (career high)
Rebounds – 3.0 (career high)
Assists – .8 (tied, career high)
Blocks – .2
Steals – 1.0 (career high)
FG% – .468 (career high)
3FG% – .289
FT% – .667 (career high)
Williams previously averaged 5.6 points and 2.1 rebounds over 16.9 minutes in 34 games (16 starts) over two seasons with Memphis and Houston. For New York, the 23-year-old averaged 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 17 games, while playing 17.1 minutes per game.
Williams scored a season high 18 points and added 5 rebounds on March 9 in Milwaukee:
Former Knick head coach Jeff Hornacek had this to say about Williams when asked what he was adding to New York:
“His activity, the playing hard, cutting to the basket, some of that stuff gets contagious. His ability to make some athletic plays that sometimes you don’t think — there was a play the other day, I think he actually scored on it. They took it out and threw a long pass. He got back, jumped up in the air and stole it. He has the ability to make plays other guys may not be able to do. He also showed if he gets a kick-out three, and he’s ready for it, he can make it.”
That certainly sounds like the Troy Williams that Indiana fans got to know for 3 seasons.
GETTING TO KNOW TROY WILLIAMS
This is an entertaining video of fellow Knick Michael Beasley interviewing newcomer Williams on “The Walking Bucket Show”. Troy manages to get an IU reference in. It’s worth a watch:
While nothing is guaranteed in the ultra-competitive NBA, Williams’ is likely comfortable that he has a spot on the New York roster going into next year.
The biggest question facing him this offseason will be something that was a developmental need while with the Hoosiers — his three-point shooting. Williams is shooting 29% for his NBA career from distance. He shot 33% with New York. While an improvement, that still won’t cut it at his position in a league that highly emphasizes the deep ball. If he can develop that aspect of his game, while continuing to attack the rim and playing good defense, then Troy Williams might just be in the NBA for a long career.
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