The concept of having the need to prove yourself is not new to Nets two-way combo guard Alondes Williams. Hailing from Milwaukee, Williams is familiar with the notion of getting knocked down and getting back up. So he’s looking to make the most of his first year so that he can make an impact for the organization and build on his resume’.
After going undrafted this past year in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Nets signed Williams to a two-way contract after an impressive graduate year at Wake Forest, averaging 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. Because of his play, Williams piled up numerous awards by the end of the year, including the ACC Player of the Year. He was second in scoring in he ACC and first in assists and more importantly, he led Wake to a 25-10 record.
“I learned to never give up on yourself,” Williams said postgame after the Nets/Maine Celtics matchup on November 13. “Just keep on working even when people don’t believe in you or when people don’t see your skill. Just keep trusting in yourself and you will see the outcome.”
According to the Demon Deacons’ head coach Steve Forbes, Williams’ combination of his athletic gifts, work ethic and skillset on the court allow him to play at a different pace.
“Alondes is the best passer I have ever coached and his court vision is what sets him apart,” Forbes said. “He is extremely athletic and can get to the hoop whenever he wants, and will always bring a smile to anyone in the locker room.”
Going into Thursday’s game vs. the Greensboro Swarm — 7:00 p.m. ET on the G League website — Williams has had an up-and-down start in the league. He’s averaging 13.5 points on shooting splits of 38/38/58. The 3-point number has to be encouraging to the Nets brass. It’s one area where the Nets wanted improvement. He didn’t make a single three in the Summer League. His 3.5 turnovers — with 3.5 assists — is the other area where the Nets have looked for him to get better.
Williams’ journey to Brooklyn is very unique compared to other players. Before attending Wake Forest, Williams attended a JUCO in River Grove, Illinois called Triton College. Spending two years there, Williams tallied 1,059 points (15.4 per game) and led his team to capture the 2018 NJCAA Division II Championship in his first year and was named North Central Community College Conference Player of the Year in his sophomore campaign in 2019. Putting up these types of numbers let Oklahoma to recruit him.
The next two years as a Sooner weren’t that eventful for Williams. In his junior year, he averaged 6.0 points in 16 minutes per game, and 6.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in his senior year. It wasn’t until his transfer to Wake Forest when Williams would get people to follow his career, including Brooklyn’s scouts. Before the NBA Draft was over, the Nets offered Williams a two-way deal. It was a bit of a risk. Williams was 23, older than most rookies and he had only one good year, and he was indeed raw by NBA standards.
Williams’ humble journey created a chip on his shoulder, and it is evident in his play style. In the game against the Celtics, Williams played a physical game and at 6’5” and 210 pounds, AWill can be effective in that regard. Despite not shooting the ball well, Williams relentlessly bullied his defender over and over again in his attempts to get a good look at the rim.
“Growing up I always wanted to play like Lebron James, but I like to model my game after a player like Jrue Holiday,” Williams said. “A big guard with a big upside who can play defense and also facilitate and score whenever I can is how I would describe my game.”
Indeed, the Nets liked his court vision and some of his turnovers may be due to ambition.
With Williams playing in both Brooklyn and Long Island, he hopes he can take his game to the next level by borrowing from some of the best players in the world.
“Learning from everybody and seeing their personalities definitely helps me every day,” Williams said. Being with Brooklyn, I get to see the players I grew up watching and be with the greats consistently. It allows me to look at my goal clearer, which is to be the better version of me and be one of the top names in the game.”
Does Williams have the potential to meet his goals? He make take a while. Brooklyn’s roster is indeed filled with top-flight PGs and he’s sharing the Long Island point guard slot. But Williams has faced challenges before and wants it.