In 2014, Elliot Williams was selected by the Santa Cruz Warriors with the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Development League Draft.
Since then, he's developed into an important aspect of the Warriors' D-League roster and coach Casey Hill thinks he deserves to be in the NBA.
"Elliot deserves to be in the NBA and he's gonna get his shot if he keeps playing this way," Hill said after the Warriors' 98-87 loss to the Austin Spurs at Kaiser Permanente Arena last Saturday night.
Although the back-to-back games against the Spurs were quite different — Santa Cruz lost to Austin on Saturday after beating them on a buzzer-beater on Friday — there was one thing that stayed the same and that was the performance by Williams which was unforgettable to say the least.
When hearing his coach talk about Williams in that way, you can tell he really believes in him and you can tell Williams believes in himself too. For Elliot, though, he knows there's always room for improvement and after speaking with him after the game, I'd describe him as humble.
He's a humble person, but he's also humble on the court.
Williams had 11 assists during Saturday night's game, and that's what was important to him about his performance.
On Friday night against the Spurs, Williams scored 26. I was curious to know whether or not this prepared him more for Saturday night's game since he played with such composure. In addition, he scored 26 Saturday night and had five rebounds.
"For me, it's not about the assists. It's about being consistent. Points, I'm not worried about...those come within the flow of the game," Williams said. "I was happy about my 11 assists and I was happy my teammates were able to follow through with them. We are getting better as a team."
Not only would I describe Elliot as humble, but he's optimistic.
"We were able to get some good shots despite missed opportunities. They are a good team but we'll get them next time," Williams said.
Williams was recently named NBA Development League Player of the Month for games played in November, the first of the 2015-16 season. This is also the first of his NBA D-League career.
Williams ranked third in the NBA D-League in scoring and assists and added 8.6 rebounds. He helped Santa Cruz to a 4-3 record to start the 2015-16 season and has scored at least 23 points in every game thus far.
Coach Casey Hill thinks highly of Williams as well, and thought he played great against Austin.
"Elliot just loves basketball, it doesn't matter what gym he's playing in, he's always going to play the same way and put the same amount of effort in," Hill said. "He's the motor of the team."
Saturday was a tough game for the SeaDubs, especially after such an exciting win the night before. There were a couple things that contributed to that loss that Williams and Hill both weighed in on.
Austin was good at swinging the ball from side to side; this forced the defense to shift constantly across the floor. The team has been working to improve this skill, but poor health and trust issues were factors on Saturday night.
Williams didn't think having back to back games has anything to do with the loss — he thinks they got tired and weren't ready for the second half as a team.
"We didn't execute offensively in the second half. It has a lot to do with me, though," Williams said. "I felt like I was looking to pass too much when I could have scored and when I could have scored I was looking for who was open."
For Hill, the loss didn't revolve around the fact that the SCW got out rebounded 51-36, it was the type of rebounds the Spurs were getting.
"We need to do a little better boxing out. That team moves really well and they will get you tired if you're not ready," Hill said.
The Santa Cruz Warriors will play on Dec. 4 against the Texas Legends.