CHICAGO — In his hometown of Chicago on Thursday afternoon, Trevion Williams played in his first official game since his Purdue career as his NBA draft combined team Participated in the first of two scuffles.
Williams’ Curry team won comfortably, and the watching NBA Kings saw a lot in his Purdue career that Williams probably didn’t have in his career.
The former Boilermaker big man led the fast break and provided off-the-dribble assists. He made a 3-pointer, he protected the rim and denied longtime Big Ten opponent Kofi Coburn on the irons.
Williams’ 14 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists were excellent, if not understated, and the more avenues of value he knows he can offer, the better his chances of making it to the NBA and sticking around.
“A lot of times in college you can’t show certain things because you’re playing a certain role,” Williams said. “That’s not to say I’ll never be able to do these things. I feel like they’ve always been there, but in order to fit into a system and be successful, you have to play a role and be yourself. That’s not my Purdue The characters. Everyone’s journey is different. … uniting a little bit differently gives you more freedom and shows other aspects of your game.”
There isn’t a single player in the Union that doesn’t say they’re in the best shape of their lives. That’s the point of the preselection process. But that certainly applies to Williams, who, at 265 pounds, looks thin by his standards and has done well in testing.
Williams said he’s been working out in Chicago, spending most of his time by his side to reduce distractions while he’s working out, an approach that will help him from now on.
A trick player sometimes thinks an NBA career is a reward when in reality it is hard partMilwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis made that point Wednesday in a speech at Union Stadium.
“While it’s hard to do, it’s even harder to stay,” Williams said. “Bobby talked about that yesterday, and once you’re successful, it’s going to be more difficult, with a lot of people coming in and out. You want to win that (second) contract and earn people’s respect and have them say you belong. .
“I totally understand it’s going to be tougher now, so I never want to settle down. I’m in the best shape of my life, but there’s always work to be done.”
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Williams has no guarantees and is now usually expected in the second half of the second round. A lot of things will change ahead of the June 23 draft, but Williams is clearly in a position where he has to earn his spot instead of letting his spot go to him.
The NBA is a league of stars, and wins often come from surrounding stars who have complementary players who can meet needs, seize opportunities and make their core players better.
For a player in Williams’ situation, that’s everything. Rebounding usually translates, that’s his forte, but the more he can prove he can pass, shoot, handle, make decisions and defend, the more chances he’ll have with Grant Williams and Kevin Rooney. Players who find a place in the league now play a key role in the playoffs for great teams.
“It’s all about knowing how to fit in,” Williams said, “and the little things — picking them up when they fall, talking loudly on the bench, having energy. Those little things matter.”
So far, Williams has visited the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks for practice, but he said he will have many other such opportunities after the Union.
He’s one of two Purdue players in the Union, along with Jaden Ivey, who is in a very different position than his former teammates.
Ivey is generally considered a top-five rookie and has operated accordingly in the Union, opting out of scrimmages and most tests and Thursday’s media conference, just like any other top-five player — Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero and Shaedon Sharpe all did it.
Iowa’s Keegan Murray, Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis and Arizona’s Benedict Maturin were the only top 10 prospects who spoke to the media on Thursday.