What could the well-traveled swingman bring to the table for a Knicks team still desperate for athleticism on the wing?
This year’s Summer League was a splash of cold water for the fan base. Before the draft, it felt as if the Knicks were running in place. A strong draft night gave us hope. Seeing tangible results has made the process easier to put trust in. Kevin Knox stole the show with his Jayson Tatum-lite performance, which has caught not just New York’s attention, but the league’s. Mitchell Robinson added to the hype by channeling his inner Takashi, as he led the Summer League in blocks per game.
Then there was Troy Williams. Unlike the rest of the Fiz Kids, Williams had something to play for. His deal for next season is non-guaranteed, so Vegas was less of a showcase and more of an extended audition. A bad showing in Vegas could have moved his name to the chopping block heading into training camp. Instead, Williams secured his bag and may have even finessed his way into the rotation.
Other than the rooks showing out, it was Williams that popped off the screen for the Knicks. Every time he was on the floor you never had to question whether he was going all out. It was the first time I saw someone on the Knicks Summer League team hit the deck for loose balls.
Troy Williams is throwing his body around like a guy on a non-guaranteed deal, oh yeah! pic.twitter.com/qrxkms7DPU
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) July 7, 2018
Whenever the Knicks made a big run—most notably that 17-0 third quarter tear vs. the Lakers—Williams was on the floor. He will rarely be the source of these runs, but his presence as a supporting player holds value.
His energy exerted per-minute ratio had to be through the roof and he was able to harness that within the flow of the game.
Love what we’ve seen from @troywilliams_ in Summer League
Here he makes like a wide receiver and runs the perfect route for a dunk pic.twitter.com/SVRqzUNxAa
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) July 9, 2018
A key theme we saw from the Knicks’ Vegas run was pushing the pace. The open court is an area Williams has proven he can produce in. Everything he did in Vegas is replicable to what he can bring next season and beyond.
This Troy Williams guy is real effective in transition pic.twitter.com/lbVQ7SEk7v
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) July 9, 2018
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) July 11, 2018
We already know he has the athleticism to get to the rack with momentum on his side. What can unlock his potential as a key contributor is that second clip where Knox hits him for the transition three. He filled the lane perfectly and got off a high percentage look. His aggressiveness will only be amplified by Fizdale, who seems to only believe in giving players the green light.
If Williams plays his cards right, he can parlay a strong Vegas and training camp into something real. At 23 years old, he is considered an elder statesman on this infant roster, but he is still not even close to the player he can become. The Garden has always welcomed the guys who apply a little extra elbow grease with open arms.
Remember: this is the same place where Landry Fields was immortal for a moment in time. It’s also a place where Pablo Prigioni will forever be loved. Williams has some major work to do, but he brings that same energy.
Plays like this are also akin to the plays Prigioni and Fields made to excite the crowd.
Troy Williams. Mans likes to dunk. pic.twitter.com/h7jSru15JJ
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) July 11, 2018
Williams was able to shore up his chances of staying on the team this season. Now he can shift his focus on staying around when the games start to matter.