Amid the drama and hoopla surrounding the return of Blazers basketball this year, a few names have been lost in the shuffle. Just don’t tell that to Elliot Williams. After being sidelined for a year while recovering from double knee surgery, he’s back in training camp at “100 percent,” and he’s ready to not only earn minutes, but earn meaningful playing time.
LaMarcus Aldridge said about Williams, “He has that Michael Jordan swag. I put him that Rudy Gay category… He’s kind of like Travis Outlaw but with more skill… He made a couple of shots and gave us that look, like, ‘you’re trash.’”
The 6’5″ guard stands in a long line behind several players on the Blazers’ roster who will no doubt be vying for playing time at the 2-guard after Roy’s departure. One would think that a (technical) rookie would sit back and let whatever minutes he’s given come to him, work hard, and be grateful for what he gets. But Williams is determined to make his presence in training camp known, to his teammates and to Coach McMillan.
Not only has Williams already impressed the training staff with his perseverance and determination during his recovery, but he has managed to come into camp as if he has not missed a beat, much less an entire season. His play has caught everyone’s attention, most importantly, Coach Nate’s.
“Elliot is going to be competing in training camp for some minutes,” McMillan told The Oregonian.
Behind Wesley Matthews and possibly Luke Babbitt (seriously), Williams has significant work to do to both continue to impress Nate and get into a position where he can log a good amount of minutes. Elliot has had no opportunity until now to show exactly what he is made of, so regardless if he feels, “totally fine,” as he told reporters on the opening day of training camp, it is an open question whether he will be able to channel his energy, confidence and excellent training camp play into a meaningful role this season.
While telling reporters that he’s worked on strengthening his body during the offseason and focused on getting better in all aspects of his game, Elliot shrugged off questions about his knees, saying, “they’re fine,” as if nothing was the matter, as if no surgery — two, in fact — had been performed. In the short video clip, that confidence Aldridge and Nate have already noticed almost jumps through my computer screen.
“He was making tough, tough shots…and nobody can jump with him, except for C.J,” LaMarcus gushed.
When asked if he is lacking in confidence coming into camp, Elliot shook his head saying,
“You can’t lack confidence in this league, you’ll get killed.”