Nets rookie forward, Jordan Williams was thrown into the mix early in his assignment with the Nets’ D-League affiliate, the Springfield Armor.
Williams, assigned to Springfield on Wednesday, drove four hours to the birthplace of basketball in time to go through a 90-minute workout in preparations for Thursday night’s game against the Maine Red Claws.
The limited time didn’t stop Williams from recording a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) in 35 minutes of action during Springfield’s 93-91 win over Maine.
“It’s the D-League. It’s ‘Hello. Let’s go,’” said Armor head coach Bob MacKinnon. “That’s the way this league works. You’ve got to be ready to go.”
A written statement by Nets general manager, Billy King explained the assignment:
“The one (thing) is we talked to Jordan: ‘It’s not a demotion – it’s a chance for you to play. Being where you were on the depth chart, you weren’t going to get minutes here.’”
The plan was to send Williams down and get the 21-year-old rookie in game shape and some playing experience under his belt.
“I’m working on it (conditioning) right now,” said Williams. “I’m getting better every day. I’ve gotten in much better shape since training camp. They’ve (King and Avery Johnson) been harping on me less about it.”
It’s a process, and that’s something Williams and MacKinnon are aware of.
“Game-by-game, day-by-day,” said MacKinnon. “He came out tonight because he was winded and we need to get him (more conditioned), and it doesn’t happen in one day.”
Williams started out slow, trying to get into the flow of the game. He didn’t score until about 10 minutes in and had a bad turnover on an outlet pass. But when he finally got going, he showed why the Nets selected him with the 36th pick overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.
He moved well, being very lively on offense. He gained solid position in the post and was active in pick-and-rolls. He also showed off his mid-range game, knocking down several jumpers.
He displayed a good face-up game tonight, finding teammates when he was double-teamed. Williams found Jerry Smith on back-to-back possessions, first for a 3-pointer, second on a cut the basket that helped the Armor climb back into the game.
His best play of the night, showed how much he had improved on his stamina.
Armor guard L.D. Williams was on the fast break, with only one defender to beat. As he went up, the defender forced him to lose control of his body, as he missed the layup. Following the play, Williams came running down the lane, grabbing the offensive board and finishing the layup.
“They (King and Johnson) just wanted me to get rebounds and run the floor, take advantage of the situation, and that’s exactly what I’m doing,” said Williams.
Springfield has three games on the road in the next five days, a good test for Williams, who will be with the Armor for a week or two.