Before I start anything, let me say this about the Kings newest pickup in Terrence Williams – I’ve always liked his game, going back to his time playing in Louisville for the Cardinals. As a Kentucky Wildcat fan myself, it sends shooting paints up and down my arm to admit it, but, there was always something about Williams I enjoyed.
For Williams, it was never a question of talent. Much like our own perceived hothead in DeMarcus Cousins, his draft stock slipped because of the numerous red flags. Unlike Cousins, he wasn’t a big guy and his flags, well, they were more blood red than the magenta colored flags of Cousins. No, Williams never tossed a college teammate down a flight of stairs like Bonzi Wells and no, he wasn’t ever involved in any criminal activities – the red flags were just simple things, but boy, were there a considerable amount.
Coming into the NBA, Williams did nothing to erase those perceived notions, finding himself in the doghouse early in his career which led to an eventual demotion to the NBA D-League, something that was considered a first and is no longer allowed in the league. Upon being released, he went to Houston where things didn’t get any better. Between a lack of playing time and some implied attitude issues, Williams, who has talent dripping out of his finger tips was fighting for his career when the Kings came calling.
I didn’t think he wanted it. I didn’t think he had it in him. I, was a doubter. Not because I wanted to be – but Williams had never shown me anything to prove otherwise. It was never an issue of not trusting his talent, fully knowing that if he ever got his mind right his game would follow. But as the saying goes, “fool me once – shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me”. I watched T-Will wave those red flags with pride in New Jersey and Houston – we all did. What the hell was going to change overnight, going to a team that despite their improved play – was still considered a scrap heap franchise? Apparently – everything.
Yes, Williams is still in the infancy of his Sacramento Kings career and yes, all parties are currently in honeymoon mode. Williams finally has been given some floor time (something he couldn’t get in Houston) and he’s being asked to not only play, but to play important minutes and play an important role. He’s not just out there going through the motions – he’s being asked to run the team from a point forward standpoint. He’s being asked to make the guys around him better, both offensively and defensively. And not only is he being asked, he’s being trusted to do so and for the first time in his turbulent career, he’s following through.
There’s still much of a mountain to climb with Williams – don’t get me wrong. Much like many youthful talents (Terrence is just 24), he’s still learning the NBA game. In fact, he reminds me a lot of Tyreke Evans in ways. The talent is absurd. The size, the speed, the strength? Incredible. But there are still moments of head shaking, but you only hope they continue to dwindle in frequency.
I admit it – I didn’t think Williams was ready, mentally, to take that next step and so far, he’s proven me wrong and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve always been a Williams fan and it pained me to see him waste such a unique and special skill set, but maybe, just maybe – that light bulb went off.
Keith Smart has done a wonderful job reaching players and preaching a family atmosphere and that shouldn’t be overlooked. The proof is in the pudding with DeMarcus Cousins. Hopefully, between Smart’s work with Terrence and his understanding that his chances have all but ran out, things have changed and Williams will be part of the Kings future. It’s only going to benefit all parties involved.