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Summer League Success Shows Troy Williams Might Be Ready For A Bigger Role with Houston

Contributor Jovan Alford discusses how Troy Williams’ Summer League success could turn into a bigger role on the Rockets.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Athleticism, aggressiveness, and confidence. Those are the three words that come to mind when describing Troy Williams’ game. The former Indiana Hoosier, who went undrafted last summer and spent this past season with the Memphis Grizzlies, NBA G League, and Rockets, has taken his game to new heights this year in the Las Vegas Summer League.

In three games with Houston, Williams is averaging 25.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 26.7 minutes per game. His 25.7 points per game, ranks fourth behind Brandon Ingram (26.7), Donovan Mitchell (28.0), and Bryn Forbes (29.3).

Granted Ingram only played in one game, but for Williams to be in the same category as those three players is special.

The 6-foot-7, 201 lbs. forward is also shooting 46.8 percent from the field and an impressive 38.5 percent from three-point range. These numbers are a stark contrast from this time last year as with the Phoenix Suns’ summer league team where he only averaged 12.3 points,4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 22.2 minutes per game.Not to mention, he also shot 54.3 percent from the field and 26.3 percent from three-point range.

Even though, Williams’ field goal percentage was better last summer, his three-point percentage was not. Last summer, he only attempted 3.2 three-pointers, in comparison to this summer, where he’s doubled that to 8.7.

His best three-point shooting game came against the Denver Nuggets on July 8 as he went 4-of-7 from distance, finishing with 29 points.

However, when his three-point shot wasn’t falling on Monday against the Suns, thanks to solid defense from rookie Josh Jackson. Williams leaned on his other skills to get him back in the groove.

He ran the floor, did baseline cuts to the basket, played solid defense, and did the little things that count to help Houston secure the victory.

A possible reason for Williams’ improved play, especially from the three-point line is his confidence. With Memphis, he only played 24 games (started in 13) but shot a horrific 24.4 percent from three-point range on 1.7 attempts per game.

Therefore, Williams was assigned to the then Iowa Energy on Dec. 26 and spent a few weeks in the G League. In the G League, Williams’ game gradually improved thanks to more playing time.

With the Energy, Williams averaged 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.0 minutes per game. He was playing with high energy, knocking down the three ball at a 32.2 percent clip, and oozing with confidence.

Thankfully, Williams was able to parlay that confidence and solid play in the G League, into signing a contract with the Rockets on March 10.

Despite signing with Houston, Williams was sent back to the G League, thanks to the enormous depth the Rockets had on the bench.

However, that did not deter him as Williams played well with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers averaging 19.8 points and shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from three-point range.

The Rockets eventually took notice and recalled him from Rio Grande Valley. Williams did not disappoint the Rockets’ coaches and front office as he had a career game against the Suns on April 2, scoring 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range.

Williams looked comfortable playing in Houston’s up-tempo offense, showing that he may be worth bringing back for next season. Coincidentally, Williams may get his wish as the Rockets made a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire all-star point guard Chris Paul.

In the process of acquiring Paul, the Rockets depleted their bench giving up Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, and Montrezl Harrell. With those players gone, it now opens up potential minutes for Williams if the Rockets decide to sign him to a deal as he is a free agent.

All in all, if the Rockets do decide to sign Williams, they will be getting a young guy, who is hungry and can be a key contributor off the bench. Right now, their bench consists of Chinanu Onuaku, Shawn Long, Tim Quarterman, Isaiah Taylor, P.J. Tucker, and Jared Uthoff.

Out of all those players, Tucker is the only player that provides some threat of an offensive game. However, the Rockets will be looking for Tucker to bring it on the defensive end.

With that being said, Williams is a must need for the Rockets because he can shoot well from the perimeter and score points in a hurry.

But if the Rockets do not sign Williams for some odd reason, then there is a team out there that could use a young forward, who could develop into a solid 3 and D player.