LOS ANGELES – Reggie Williams did not get many opportunities to contribute significantly in either of his previous two NBA stops, but that likely won’t be the case for him on his fifth different team overall. The southpaw shooting guard, who joined New Orleans (7-16) officially Saturday at the squad’s shootaround this morning, will need to be ready to play immediately, given that the Pelicans are expected to have a maximum of 10 players available against the Clippers tonight (9:30 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, WRNO 99.5 FM).
Three players are already out for New Orleans, while two others (a recent starting backcourt tandem of Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore) are not expected to play due to toe injuries. That leaves a threadbare group of players that includes rookie second-round pick Cheick Diallo, who has only appeared in two official NBA games. In other words, the 30-year-old Williams will need to lean on his 200 games of NBA experience as he rapidly adjusts to a brand-new team and teammates.
“It’s great,” Williams said when asked about the opportunity that’s likely awaiting him after being signed out of the D-League. “You get on any level, the first thing we want to do as basketball players is play. Guys say you’re being thrown into the fire, but I look at it as I’m playing basketball. For me, I’ve been here before and had this experience before. As a new guy (or very young player), maybe I would be more anxious, but for me having this experience is going to calm me.”
Williams last averaged double-digit minutes in the NBA during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, when he logged 22.6 per game for Charlotte. He played last season in Russia, but before that was used sparingly by Oklahoma City and San Antonio in 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively.
Other notes from Saturday’s shootaround:
Williams (career 36.3 percent from three-point range in 534 attempts) on how he describes his game for people who may not be familiar with it: “Scoring the ball, shooting the ball, hopefully being able to get in the paint and make plays for other guys. Just have a consistent flow and improving myself.” …
According to Basketball-Reference.com, 53 percent of the 6-foot-6 Williams’ career minutes have come at shooting guard, with 39 percent at small forward (the remainder were at point guard or power forward). That versatility will come in handy, because not only does New Orleans only have a max of 10 players on hand, but based on a theoretical depth chart that does not include Holiday nor Moore, the Pelicans don’t have much backup experience at either the two or three spot (behind recent starters Buddy Hield and Solomon Hill, respectively). Anthony Brown filled those roles over the past two games, but he was waived, creating the roster spot for Williams.