Torrington's Williams takes first step towards NBA
Torrington’s Jordan Williams made the choice Tuesday that most expected as he announced his intentions of leaving the University of Maryland to enter the NBA Draft.
He did it with a catch, though. He’s not hiring an agent.
By not hiring an agent, it leaves the door open for Williams to return to Maryland if the feedback he hears from teams at the NBA Draft Camp is negative. NCAA law prohibits players from going back to school if they sign with an agent.
The odds of any negative feedback about slipping to a low draft position are minimal for Williams, especially considering this draft class is considered very weak by the “experts.”
However, there stands one obstacle in the way for Williams, who averaged 16.8 points and 11.8 rebounds this season: the looming NBA lockout.
And Maryland head coach Gary Williams believes he’ll return to school because of it.
“I fully expect Jordan to come back because of the lockout possibility,” Williams told The Washington Times. “No one knows anything about the draft right now except the NBA. They’re the guys that are going to draft their players. With a lockout as a possibility, it’ll be interesting to see how the process of the draft takes place. I know the NFL is going ahead with their draft, but the NBA, all sources I have are saying this could be a hockey-type situation [the NHL lost the entire 2004-05 season]."
If the NBA does reach labor peace and the draft and 2011-12 season go on as planned, there will be a fight amongst the teams in the lottery for Williams’ services.
Here’s a look at the probable lottery teams and possible destinations for Williams:
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs own the Clippers’ lottery pick in addition to their own, and need help at every position. Cleveland has a passionate fan base as evidenced Thursday when they carried their crummy team to a win over the big, bad Miami Heat. Could a Jordan Williams-Kemba Walker get together be in the cards?
Milwaukee Bucks: Milwaukee has the reputation as NBA Siberia to some, but seriously, who cares what city you play in as long as you’re in the league? Williams would probably start at power forward here next to Andrew Bogut.
Washington Wizards: Not as bad a spot for Williams as one may think. With John Wall at the point, the underrated Jordan Crawford at the two and JaVale McGee in the paint, the future is bright in D.C. Williams would slide immediately into the Wizard rotation.
Detroit Pistons: A complete mess of a franchise. The team is for sale, the General Manager Joe Dumars is lost and the players on the roster, including UConn alum Ben Gordon, appear to only care about cashing their checks. We can only hope Detroit messes up – a huge possibility - if Williams is on the board when its pick comes up.
Houston Rockets: A solid organization, and with Yao Ming’s career all but over, Houston will be searching for a center. Williams would see a lot of playing time on this team if selected.
Phoenix Suns: Unfortunately, if Williams goes here, it’d be about five years too late with Steve Nash nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. For Williams to end up in Phoenix, the Suns would probably have to give up on the Robin Lopex experiment. Knowing their cheapness, I doubt that will happen.
Utah Jazz: Like the Cavs, the Jazz have two lottery picks (their second from the Nets), but with the recently acquired Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson in the paint, it looks like Utah will be in the market for a small forward and shooting guard.
Golden State Warriors: If I was a betting man (key word: if), this would be my guess for Williams’ location. The Warriors have a loaded backcourt in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, a decent power forward in David Lee and little else in the paint. Williams would average a double-double in their up-and-down system if given the minutes.
Sacramento (Anaheim?) Kings: Strong indications throughout the league indicate the Kings will leave for Anaheim following this season. It’s hard to see how Williams would fit in here as the Kings just drafted big man DeMarcus Cousins from Kentucky last year.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Unless the Wolves are sold on Darko Milicic as their long-term center (very doubtful), plenty of minutes await Williams here if they choose to go in his direction.