Marcus Williams will look to flex his muscles with the Indiana Pacers for the rest of the season.
Williams, a 6-foot-7 guard, averaged 24.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists in eight games for the Austin Toros this season after beginning the year playing in China.
Williams is probably the D-League blogosphere's favorite NBA prospect just because he's so versatile with the additions he's made to his game since he was at Arizona where he was just a gifted scorer with an attitude problem. Don't worry, though - things have changed.
He was drafted by the Spurs in the second round of the 2007 draft, but didn't make the team and ended up with the Spurs D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros, where he's been developing ever since. While he's become more of a leader, rounded out his scoring to include a more consistent jump shot and is better on the defensive end, his developing point guard skills is what has me most intrigued.
Here's an excerpt from my recap of his first game back in the D-League this season:
Marcus Williams is back in the D-League and, after all was said and done, he didn't really miss a beat - he led the team in asssists, shot an efficient 8-of-14 from the field and played the second most minutes of any of the Toros. He did have some issues, namely turning the ball over six times and shooting just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, though I think I can explain.
As far as the turnovers, one came on what they called a block instead of a charge, one came on a travel and the other four came on entry passes to the low post - I hate to charge those turnovers to the point guard when it's just as much the fault as the big for not sealing/bobbling the basketball.
The 3-pointers, as Williams remarked in his postgame interview, were an issue because he was used to shooting from the closer European 3-point line (or Chinese, as you will). The odd thing about that is of the 470 shots that he took in China, just six were from beyond the arc.
He adds a great dimension to the Toros as a passer, a scorer and, maybe most importantly, a leader. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to see him called up to the Spurs once Toros coach Quin Snyder gives the go-ahead when he's completely re-acclimated with the offense.
For the Pacers, I assume Williams is an addition that will pay dividends during the Summer. Earl Watson and Luther Head are both free agents, and while I don't know for sure that Williams will be looked at by the Pacers for his point guard prowess, auditioning yet another player (they've auditioned about 97 during the "Jamaal Tinsley Era", apparently) that can play the point with his prowess certainly can't hurt. If nothing else, he adds athleticism and versatility as he's not bad at either wing position, either.
It also goes to show that the Pacers do know what the D-League is, as Marcus Williams is the first player ever to be called up to Indiana. The Pacers have never assigned a player to the D-League.