Reggie Williams turned 30 years old last September. His age is on the rise and his days playing professional basketball are no doubt slowly numbering away. However, with slight improvements, a touch of consistency, and a few more eye-catching game performances, there’s absolutely no reason why Williams couldn’t become a reliable off-bench support player and make it out of the D-League before the end of his career.
Williams is in no way a stranger to playing in the Association. In fact, with 200 career appearances in the league, 32 game starts, and stints playing for Golden State, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and most recently in New Orleans, Williams has had his fair share of professional American ball. Though his most recent seasons playing in the have been nowhere near stellar, it’s very well possible that Reggie Williams has been inadvertently set up to fail by nearly every organization of his career. A combination of lacking minutes, simple but correctable fundamental flaws, and a significant lack of playtime-opportunity may be why Reggie is in the unfortunate D-League “limbo”.
During his debut season for Golden State, Reggie played 24 games, had 10 game starts, and averaged just over 32 minutes per game. Throughout the course of his averaged game minutes, Williams put up 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists each game—a nifty set of statistics for an undrafted rookie. But what begins the madness of his luckless situation, is the Warrior’s confusing decision for Williams second season fate. In major contrast to his first season with the Warriors, Reggie had 80 game appearances but unusually averaging 12 minutes less per game. With his loss of minutes per game, came the loss of his average per game statistics. His points dropped to 9.2, assists to 1.5, and rebounds to 2.7.
The seasons that followed were no different. His game-time opportunities were thin, and minutes seemed to shorten more and more as each season progressed. On October 17, 2016, Williams signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. After being waived two days later by OKC, Reggie would be re-introduced to the D-League by getting acquired by the Thunder’s Development team. Since then, Williams has had a reasonably impressive showcase with the Blue.
Averaging 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists across 33.5 minutes on average, Reggie has continued to show promise of a return to the association if given the opportunity. Williams left the Blue for less than month, going on a short run alongside the New Orleans Pelicans.
In five games, he averaged 5.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game. During his second appearance playing under the Pelicans, Williams showed his on-the-spot reliability, scoring 11 points coming off the bench, including 3-for-3 three-pointing shooting, and finishing with 17. Though his escapade with New Orleans lasted only five games, Williams gained more league experience and showcased his reliability as an off-the-bench supporting role player.
Reggie returned to the Blue on January 3rd and picked up right where he left off less than a month earlier. As of lately, the Blue’s January 31st matchup against Sioux Falls left fans in a trance when Reggie Williams hit a ferociously deep-corner three with 1.9 seconds left in the game, tying the game up and sending the two opponents into a much dreaded overtime.
The Skyforce showed they were no match for the Blue’s clutch offense when Dakari Johnson scored four straight points within the entrance of overtime, giving Oklahoma City their first lead of the entire game. As the game timer came to its end, Oklahoma City left the arena with a superior score of 120-115 thanks to Williams much needed and explosive performance of the night, turning in 35 points alongside 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
Reggie Williams has undoubtedly shown his extreme athletic talents throughout his career in the development league. Much of this can be thanked to the sole purpose of the D-League—allowing talented and slightly under-developed prospects showcase their talents through opportunities that they wouldn't regularly have in the NBA. There’s also no question that Williams still has a fair amount of flaws to attend to before he can be looked upon as a long-term reliable support player in the association.
His shot discipline is substandard, he shows little to none aggresion on defense when it's heavily needed, and his ability to create inside space on the floor still needs progressing. With all of this in mind, I firmly believe that when players like Williams are given the minutes and opportunity to succeed, they will do so—and in the scenario that an organization fails to create opportunities for underrated talent, it only returns to negatively affect the player.