by Matthew Brennan, NBA D-League.com
Las Vegas, July 12, 2010: Just eight months ago, Reggie Williams heard 44 players' names called before his on the night of the NBA D-League Draft. On Sunday night, he was scoring 34 points in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Golden State Warriors with 24 NBA regular season games and an NBA contract on his resume. Needless to say, the trip to the NBA D-League paid off for the 6-5 swingman.
"Just overnight, it's been a whirlwind," said Williams about his GATORADE Call-Up to the Golden State Warriors and NBA success. "I'm just happy and blessed to be in this situation. I've earned a contract for next year and right now I'm out here just trying to improve my game."
At the start of the 2009-10 season, Williams quickly established himself as a big-time scorer for the Sioux Falls Skyforce and a top GATORADE Call-Up prospect. After just a few months, he got the call to join the Golden State Warriors. While many call-ups have to wait their turn or never even get a chance to see a lot of NBA playing time, Williams was thrown right into the fire with the injury-riddled Warriors. A relative unknown at the time of his call-up, Williams opened eyes around the NBA with 15.2 points in 24 games on 56% shooting.
"I always heard growing up that you always have to be ready on a moment's notice in case your number gets called," said Williams. "My first night there, I had to guard D. Wade, so it was like being thrown to the wolves. I think I did all right that night and it prepared me for what you do in the NBA."
Now with a contract for next season, Williams has come to Las Vegas and emerged as the go-to guy on Golden State's Summer League team. After his first three games, Williams is one of the top scorers in Summer League with 24.0 points per game.
Williams' best game yet came on Sunday afternoon, Golden State's third straight day of action. With the eyes of the sports world focused on John Wall's debut for the Washington Wizards, Williams took some of the spotlight for himself with a 34-point outing. With the pressure of having to earn a job for next season removed, Williams is free to focus strictly on improving his game and it is showing on the court.
"I'm not here trying to get a job with any team, I'm already on a team," said Williams. "It's more that my job is to go out here, get better, and help my team and get ready for next season. I need to rebound better, get my teammates more involved, and I want to start shooting better. My coaches told me they didn't want this week to be all about scoring, they wanted to see me do some other things too. I'm trying to do that, but it's kind of tough when you are down sometimes and need to go back."
After going from third-round NBA D-League draft pick to NBA rotation player in just a few months, Williams knows that many future NBA D-League players will be trying to follow his path and see him as a role-model. His story means that success in the NBA D-League, combined with the right NBA opportunity, can pay off.
"It means a lot," said Williams. "I guess it means I'm doing something right for people to talk about me. That means that I'm playing well and doing the things I'm supposed to do. If I stay consistent and keep that up, then hopefully my name is going to be out there more."