This is the slow time in the NBA off-season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking ahead to the 2010-11 season and which players might surprise us. The Slept-on Files will feature some of the players you might have overlooked or written off — and give you reasons why you shouldn’t.
Career numbers: One season: 22 MPG, 40% FG, 31% 3PT FG, 72% FT, 4.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 8.4 PPG
Why he’s being slept on: Last season was a nightmare for anyone on the New Jersey Nets roster. For a rookie, though, it was even worse. Imagine coming into the league for the first time, everything is new to you, every single detail matters, and you end up on a team where nothing mattered by the end of the season. A dismal, dismal record, questionable decision-making and a franchise waiting for that number one pick — that they didn’t win, naturally — and while the franchise is looking for the next big thing, their supremely talented rookie swingman gets lost in the shuffle.
Of course, Williams may have contributed to his below-the-radar status by making headlines for the wrong reasons. T-Will posted some remarks on his Twitter account that Nets’ officials didn’t take to and was punished as a result, giving content-hungry reporters fodder for weeks. For a rookie trying to prove himself, any and every slip-up is huge because it’s magnified 10 times. Luckily for Williams, his off-court decision-making skills took a backseat to his on-court ones during the final six weeks of the season.
Why he shouldn’t be slept on: Last year, for the first time in NBA history, four rookies recorded triple-doubles. Of those four players, three were guards in the rookie of the year race: Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry and award winner, Tyreke Evans. The fourth was Terrence Williams. With a 27-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist performance against the Bulls, Williams reminded everyone that the season, the record and all of the crap that the Nets went through didn’t define him. What’s more, as New Jersey descended further and further into the depths of basketball hell, Williams played more and more minutes, making the most out of the extra time and scoring in double-figures 19 times over the final 25 games of the season.
Williams is an interesting player because he can score and rebound, but also has a natural feel for the game and is a fantastic passer for an athletic 6-foot-6 guard-forward. With a bigger role this season, guidance and support from new coach Avery Johnson and room to grow, Williams is going to be a player to watch. Don’t expect a sophomore slump from this one. He’s focused after a season of complete and total disaster and he’s ready to show the basketball world all that he can do when he’s on the floor.