Since joining the Knicks, forward Troy Williams turned in his most impressive performance Friday night when he scored a season-high 18 points in 26 minutes on 7-of-14 shooting, five rebounds, and one steal.
Bill Pidto and Alan Hahn head to box score to break down the performance of Troy Williams.
Williams is one of those rare athletes who has booster rockets built into his legs. He won the 2017 D-League Slam Dunk contest. But Williams knows if he truly wants to impress the Knicks, he has to show a total game.
Friday night was his most complete effort since the Knicks signed him to a 10-day contract on Feb. 21. They signed him to a second 10-day last Saturday. In seven games with the Knicks, Williams has scored in double figures three times.
“I will say he’s played well for us,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters. “It’s that activity. His athleticism. I think length, he covers ground.’’
At 6-7, 218 pounds, Williams might get a chance Sunday to defend Toronto star DeMar DeRozan, who is listed at 6-7, 220 when the Knicks host the Raptors in The Garden (12:30 p.m.; MSG & MSG GO).
The Raptors (48-17) have the best record in the Eastern Conference. They’re coming off a 108-105 win over the Rockets that snapped Houston’s 17-game win streak.
Williams knows exactly what he brings to the table.
“Just athleticism,” Williams said. “Being able to push the ball and get out, run in transition, get more fast break points and make athletic plays.’’
Troy Williams speaks with Rebecca Haarlow after scoring 18 points off the bench in the Knicks' 120-112 loss to the Bucks.
Williams has done more than that.
After missing his first five three-point field goal attempts while adjusting to the Knicks’ system, Williams has made 5-of-9 from behind the arc. He’s also grabbed 21 rebounds.
“It’s me trying to fit into the system,” Williams told The Post. “They’ve been doing this for the season. I’m not trying to change nothing. I’m trying to fit into the program. It’s coming naturally.”
Williams, 23, wasn’t drafted out of Indiana. He played three seasons, averaging 11.3 points on 52.2 percent shooting and 5.9 rebounds. He can benefit by adding some muscle in the offseason but for now, he can most benefit by leaving everything on the court.
Williams spent the 2016-17 season with the Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. This season he was with Houston but there wasn’t much opportunity on a team with the best record in the NBA.
When the Rockets signed veteran free agent Joe Johnson, Williams became expendable. The Rockets loss could be the Knicks gain.
“We were the first team, then the second team in the league so it was hard to get ahead of those guys and get on the court,’’ Williams said. “I still have respect for those guys. Going back and forth between the G League and NBA helped out a lot.”
The Knicks (24-42) have made it their mandate to get younger and more athletic. Williams checks both of those boxes. How he performs in the final 16 games of the season could go a long way to staying in the NBA.