New York Knicks forward Troy Williams is competing for a roster spot. Thus far at Summer League, he’s been nothing short of impressive.
The New York Knicks entered the 2018 NBA offseason with a significant issue to address. Trading Carmelo Anthony was an example of addition by subtraction, but he left a glaring void at the small forward position.
It hasn’t taken long for Steve Mills, Scott Perry, and David Fizdale to create intriguing competition at the position of need.
New York selected former Kentucky Wildcats forward Kevin Knox at No. 9 overall at the 2018 NBA Draft. The early return has been remarkable, as Knox has taken Summer League by storm with his athleticism, toughness, and IQ.
The asterisk, however, is that Knox has been pegged by a vast majority of NBA Draft analysts as a small-ball 4—and he’s been playing that very role in Las Vegas.
That truth continues to present New York with a daunting question: Who will step up and play major minutes at the 3-spot? Mario Hezonja could be the answer, but he played 58 percent of his minutes at power forward in 2017-18.
While the bigger names are inevitably sparking a debate at the 3-spot, New York shouldn’t lose sight of Summer League standout Troy Williams.
The Knicks signed Williams to a series of 10-day contracts before inking him to a multi-year deal. He’s due $1,544,951 in 2018-19, but that’s a non-guaranteed figure that puts him in danger of being cut with New York currently one player over the league maximum.
Thankfully for Williams, he’s making a powerful statement at Summer League—and the organization should be processing it accordingly.
In the Summer League opener, Williams finished 17 points, two rebounds, one assist, and a block in just 16 minutes of play. He shot 7-of-12 from the field, buried a three-point field goal, and got to the free throw line for four attempts and two makes.
Most importantly: Williams’ motor was running high throughout the game, and he posted the best +/- of any player on the Knicks at +16.
The next time out, Williams’ scoring production took a bit of a hit, but he continued to make a statement.
Williams finished the 90-85 loss to the Utah Jazz with eight points, seven rebounds, and a steal on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. He did so in just 18 minutes, and again posted the best +/- of any player donning the white, orange, and blue at +6.
Beyond the numbers, Williams brought an infectious energy to the court that included a raw tenacity that the franchise desperately needs on defense.
It also included explosive speed in transition, which certainly fits Fizdale’s desire to work at a faster pace on offense.
While the need to clear a roster spot puts Williams in danger, his performances at Summer League should be saving him. The event only means so much, but it hasn’t been limited to production when discussing how impressive he’s been.
Williams has been locked in on defense, a leader by example with his energy, and an explosive force in the open court.
If all things are fair, the New York Knicks should be figuring out how to bring Troy Williams back to help address the most glaring void on the roster.