|Pts Per 36||10.9|
|3 Pt %||24.40%|
When training camp began, Troy Williams looked like he’d be the victim of a numbers game. The Grizzlies already had 15 guaranteed contracts on the books, meaning if Williams was going to make the squad, it meant a tough decision would have to be made.
But Williams’ performance in camp and in the preseason was too much to ignore, and when final cuts were announced, it was the oft-injured Jordan Adams who found himself the odd man out. Williams had earned a spot on the Grizzlies.
Early in the season, as the Grizzlies weathered injuries, the young forward out of Indiana saw decent playing time, including 12 starts from the end of November through the first half of December. During that stretch, the Grizzlies went 8-4, and Williams averaged 8 points per game while playing anywhere from 15 to 36 minutes per contest.
When the Grizzlies finally got healthy, though, Williams was relegated to Iowa. From December 27 through January 28, Williams played in 9 games for the Energy, averaging 15.9 points and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes per game.
The promising performances in the D-League weren’t enough, though. The Grizzlies’ struggles at back-up point guard prompted the team to sign Toney Douglas, who’d joined the team earlier in the season on an injury exception. This time it was Williams who was the odd man out; he was waived by the Grizzlies and eventually claimed by the Energy.
After spending another month in Iowa and winning the D-League dunk contest, Williams signed a 10-day contract with the Rockets, who assigned him to their own D-League affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley. When the 10-day contract was up, the Rockets added Williams to the team for the rest of the season.
Considering Toney Douglas only remained with the team until mid-March, losing Williams to a Western Conference rival certainly stings. The only bright side, now, is that the Grizzlies were able to call up Wayne Selden Jr., who looks like a promising player, to eventually replace Douglas.
But that’s a conversation (and player grade) for another day.
Best Game: November 26, 2016 @ Miami
Coming off a rough loss at home to the Miami Heat, who, at that point, were in the midst of an 11-30 start to the season, the Grizzlies were in desperate need of a win. Fizdale, hoping to find something to spark the offense, inserted Troy Williams into the lineup in place of Troy Daniels.
Williams rewarded Fizdale’s faith with his best performance of the season: 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, 2-of-5 from three, and three rebounds in 35 minutes. In a three-point road win, Williams was a +4. In turn, Williams was rewarded with regular playing time, though he never quite managed to match his game against Miami.
Ways to Improve:
Williams is signed with the Rockets for the remainder of their postseason run. At that point, he’ll receive a qualifying offer and become a restricted free agent. Given all of this, it’s highly unlikely that Williams ends up back in Memphis.
In other words, whatever he improves on isn’t really going to help the Grizzlies. The only way for him to actually help the Grizzlies would be to join a competitor and just sabotage them. If I were a betting man, I’d say that probably doesn’t happen.
Joking aside, Williams’ most crucial area improvement needs to be his consistency. He shot the ball fairly well in college, and, during his brief stint with the Rockets, made 38% of his three-pointers on 3.5 attempts per game. He’s flashed athleticism and some playmaking ability. He just needs to show those sorts of flashes night in and night out to make it as a regular member of an NBA rotation.
2016-2017 Overall Grade:
When Jordan Adams was cut to make room for Williams on the 15-man roster, it appeared to be the start of a new age. The Grizzlies looked as if they were finally willing to make the sort of tough decisions they needed in order to develop young talent behind their bevy of veterans.
In the end, though, the siren song of the Veteran Back-up Point Guard was too much to resist, and Troy Williams found himself the victim of the Toney Douglas Midseason Acquisition. While Williams certainly was fun to watch during his brief stint with the team, it’s hard to give him much of a true grade with just 24 games of action to his name.