Terrence Williams participated in his first practice as a Sacramento King Wednesday. The third-year small forward signed a 10-day contract after being released by the Houston Rockets last Friday.
“He looked good,” said veteran big man Chuck Hayes, who played with Williams in Houston last year. “He looked real good. I’m not surprised by his talent; I’ve seen it all last year.
“The guy can play,” Hayes added. “Just hope he gets the opportunity.”
Williams said he got the chance to display his versatility off to his new teammates. Hayes, who is an adept passer, thinks Williams might now be the Kings’ best facilitator.
“He sees the floor better than anybody probably on our team,” Hayes said. “Not to knock anybody on our team, but that’s just one of his greatest strengths, is find the open man and create for other people.”
Williams’ versatility may also translate to the defensive end. Heralded as a player capable of defending multiple positions, Williams credits his speed, athleticism and willingness to take on any challenge.
“You gotta be willing to chase the two off the screen,” said Williams, describing his mindset on defense. “You gotta be willing to bang with the three on the block, and you gotta be willing to contain the point guard full court.”
Selected 11th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, Williams has had a rocky start to his career. Before he was traded to Houston last year, the Kings small forward was demoted by the Nets to the D-League for repeated tardiness to practices, shootarounds and meetings.
However, head coach Keith Smart has given Williams, like he gave DeMarcus Cousins earlier this season, a clean slate.
“You know I could sit here and talk to you in the face about what happened and what didn’t happen,” said Williams, grateful for the fresh start the Kings have offered him. “But at the end of the day I just want to play basketball. If I have a fresh start here where I can do that, then I’m all for it.”
Marcus Thornton and the trade deadline
Before their current three-game win streak, the Kings had lost three in a row and guard Marcus Thornton was playing some of his worst basketball. Coincidentally, the trade deadline was just around the corner and the Kings guard thought he was on the block.
“I remember coming in trade deadline day,” said coach Smart to media following practice. “He said coach, ‘What time is it?’. And I said ’12:30′. He said, ‘What time is it out east?’ I said ‘Is that what this is all about? Is that what you had been thinking for over a week?’”
Before the deadline, Thornton averaged just 10 points and shot 31.2 percent from beyond the arc in the Kings’ three-game skid. Since then, he’s scored 30 or more points and shot above 50 percent from deep in two of the Kings’ last three games.
“It was just trade deadline,” said Thornton, who added that a cold contributed to his poor play last week. “Everybody gets cautious at the trade deadline. It was on everybody’s mind. But that’s over with. It’s a new week, new day, glad to be a King.”
- Will Tyreke Evans start at small forward against the Utah Jazz? “He knows that the spot is his and he doesn’t lose it to injury,” said Head Coach Keith Smart “But if he chooses to continue to do that (come off the bench), then we’ll do that. It’s all up to him.”
- In addition to Chuck Hayes, Terrence Williams has ties to several of his new teammates. He and Isaiah Thomas both hail from the state of Washington. Like Francisco Garcia, he played his college ball at Louisville. He and Tyreke Evans were both drafted in 2009 and worked out together in preparation for the draft.
- Hassan Whiteside has been putting in extra work after each practice and shootaround. The Kings second-year center has been spending substantial time with big man consultant Clifford Ray. And before addressing media, head coach Keith Smart also spent some extra one-on-one workout time with Whiteside Wednesday.