The Brooklyn Nets surprised fans and experts alike when the team announced that they were signing former Phoenix Suns’ big man Alan Williams to a two-way contract. It wasn’t the fact that the team was signing “Big Sauce” Williams that was the surprise, the fit makes complete sense for the center, but that the Nets were signing him to a two-way deal.
Alan Williams had his break out moment with the Suns during the 2016-2017 season, when he averaged 11.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in 24 games after the All-Star break. This streak of production convinced Phoenix to bite on Williams and the team offered him a three-year, $17 million deal.
However, two months later, Williams was required to get surgery done on the meniscus of his right knee, keeping him sidelined for the majority of the 17′-18′ season (Williams would appear in the Suns’ last five games of the season). Eventually, this would lead to the Suns waiving Alan Williams on July 2nd, 2018 with two years remaining on his contract.
Bringing in Williams makes complete sense from the Nets’ point of view. Brooklyn, even though the team ranked ninth in total rebounds per game at 44.4 per, struggled on the boards as they only pulled down 48.7 percent of all potential rebounds on both sides of the floor, 25th in the league. More specifically, the Nets pulled down 77.0 percent of rebounds on the defensive end of the floor (19th in the league) and 21.0 percent of rebounds on the offensive end (24th in the league).
To combat this problem, the Nets brought in rebound specialist Ed Davis from Portland and traded for the Manimal, hoping to rejuvenate his career. Now Brooklyn adds Williams to the mix as the third center behind Davis and future All-Star center (I’m calling it now) Jarrett Allen, showing they’re serious about taking away their rebound weakness.
Williams was a monster off the bench for the Suns, especially on the boards. The former undrafted center pulled down 21.5 percent of rebounds when he was on the floor, including 29.3 percent of rebounds on the defensive end and 13.8 percent on the offensive end. During that 2016-2017 season with Phoenix, Williams finished with the third most double-double by bench players with 15 total and also won the Suns’ Marjele Hustle Award.
Odds are, Williams isn’t going to get much run time behind Allen, Davis, and Faried, but it’s good to know that the Nets have a solid rotational player signed to an economical deal just in case the injury bug comes around.