Troy Williams ready to begin NBA career

  • 10/26/2016 2:50 pm in

When the Grizzlies signed Troy Williams to partially guaranteed deal back on July 24th, expectations were low.

Sure, Williams was coming off a strong Summer League performance for the Suns, averaging 12.3 points 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals over the span of six games, but the Grizzlies already had 15 guaranteed contracts on the roster.

“He didn’t have the best of odds,” Joe Mullinax, site manager of Grizzly Bear Blues on SBNation, told Inside The Hall. “He was a player who was brought in to really try to potentially be an end of the bench player. He’s a talented player, we knew that when he came in. We knew that he had athleticism, that he could play above the rim.”

As injuries piled up for the Grizzlies, Williams was given an opportunity, one he quickly relished.

Williams ended the six-game preseason slate as the leading scorer among all rookies. After shooting just 35 percent on 3s as a junior at Indiana, Williams flourished from distance in the preseason. The former IU forward shot 42 percent from deep for the Grizzlies, including a 5-11 night in a double overtime victory over the Rockets.

With Grizzlies coach David Fizdale and his staff (which includes former IU guard Keith Smart) putting an emphasis on fast-paced play and the ability to shoot from deep, keeping the young athletic wing became too hard to pass up.

“At the end of the day, keeping Troy was the only move to make,” Mullinax said. “If the Grizzlies had waived Williams, there would have been four or five other NBA teams lining up to sign him to their roster. If he wasn’t a Grizzly, he would be somewhere else.”

Even with the praise Williams has received for his preseason play, it has not been without faults. In the win over the Rockets, Williams committed three turnovers, the most egregious of which came on the final possession of regulation, when he slipped to the floor trying to drive through the lane. Near the end of the first overtime period, with the Grizzlies up by three, Williams fouled a 3-point shooter, allowing Houston to tie the game and force a second overtime.

“You can see him maybe trying too hard in some spots,” Mullinax said. “His best games were games where he played within himself. We’ve seen him have a couple turnovers. We’ve seen the good and the bad with Troy. But what we saw from him in limited action, just six games in Memphis, he showed the coaching staff enough that he was worth a roster spot.”

It is unclear what Williams’ role on the Grizzlies will look like in the long term. However, with Chandler Parsons, Brandan Wright and Tony Allen all ruled out for Wednesday night’s opener against Minnesota with various injuries, Williams will be on the 13-man active roster and could receive significant minutes.

“He’s going to be there to eat minutes, to be there for Vince Carter if he needs a night off or if Troy Daniels struggles,” Mullinax said. “He is going to be there, but won’t be depended on so much that a team is going to gameplan for him.”

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  • inLinE6

    This is the recruiting pitch we have to make.

  • sarge

    TW’s shot and dribble show his work ethic. He would not have made these kinds of plays his freshman year at Indiana. He has always had the athleticism, but he has really worked hard to make himself a complete basketball player and not just an outstanding athlete. He deserves the opportunity, and I bet he has made a few GMs wish they had drafted differently. Congratulations TW, Hoosier Nation is pulling for you. Now, if we can only get Yogi a chance for more minutes to prove himself I am confident that he can show how talented and durable he can be at the highest level too.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Very glad things are going well for TW. I have no doubt he is working hard and clearly his hustle and athleticism are being rewarded. I don’t think he suddenly became a complete player though, as evidenced by questionable decision making (forcing things, fouling 3 point shooter when up by 3…). The wild shots have been falling enough to get positive attention so let’s hope it continues.

  • Alan H

    I’m so happy for Troy. It just shows that hard work can pay big dividends. He is going to be a much better pro then most of the guys drafted this year.

  • Outoftheloop

    The Grizzles don’t know how much of a windfall Troy is for them. If he gets 20 plus minutes/game, I fully expect Troy to average 15 Pts/4.5 rebs a game. If they are protecting a 8-10 point lead, leave Troy on the bench, TO issues, poor decisions. Otherwise, let him go. The opponent will have to game plan around his talents! Troy will be their best scorer after Gausol.

  • SilentBob

    But man he looks like belongs out there. Which is something I never expected back in April. Also, all that bounce he puts on his jumper, which I think he has still cut down on, looks much more efficient from NBA range than college lol. I’m impressed

  • IdahoHoosier

    I agree, just as when he played at IU, the shots that go in look awesome. The guy is capable of great stuff. But he is still forcing action, taking off-balance/rushed shots. 5-11 from 3 is a good percentage, but high volume. Won’t seem like he belongs there when that line reads 1-11, when the shots stop falling but he keeps shooting. He will find himself on the bench then out of a job if decision making never improves.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    15 points a game in 20 minutes? Is that right? Those can be some almost real numbers Per 40.

  • ForeverIU

    Wow, so happy for Troy.

  • Awesome for TW, he’ll forever be one of my most favorite and most frustrating players. Can’t remember a kid who could make me so happy and so exasperated in the span of a few minutes. And I mean that in the most positive sense possible.

    Also a(nother) testament to CTC’s ability to develop players. I don’t think he would have received the support for so long that he received from the staff at IU. Every recruit should be looking at TW’s experience as a huge reason to choose to become a Hoosier.

  • Bled4IU

    I am so proud of Troy! It is awesome seeing hard work and determination pay off!

  • Dunkin’ Depot

    Was not a believer. Good for you TW. Keep proving the doubters wrong!!!

  • HooshWin

    Great news for TW, keep it up. With Chandler Parsons as a teammate, there will be an abundance of “injury minutes” for TW to show what he is made of.

  • Fifer39

    I knew Troy would need another year in school before he made an nba roster. Mmmm, this pie tastes good!

  • Outoftheloop

    If you are a scorer, then you score! Most NBA teams feature a solid scorer off of the bench (12-15pts/game)!

  • I am Baby Cakes

    That would be Zach Randolph.