Suns forward Alan Williams is having a bit more off time than usual these days while he recovers from injury after a strong 2016-17 season that was rewarded by the Suns with a nice deal. He used some of it to talk shop with HoopsHype while watching a not very entertaining Knicks-Celtics game.
Here’s the transcription of our text-message conversation, which touches on his recovery, his police chief mom, the Eric Bledsoe situation, the downsides on NBA life and more:
So how often do you watch NBA games on TV? Would you be watching Knicks-Celtics if we were not doing this? 😎
Alan Williams: I try to catch a glimpse of every game, NBA season is my favorite time of year. Porzingis is one of my favorite players to watch! He’s tough.
He goes to the All-Star Game this year, right?
AW: No doubt. He’s one of the best young players, he’s international in the biggest market. He’s basically a lock.
What about the Celtics? Which of their young guys are you most excited about?
AW: Jaylen Brown for sure. He’s a great transition and open-court player, likes to defend and is smart.
Brown over Jayson Tatum?
AW: I wouldn’t say over. I think they can co-exist and be great together. They complement each other well.
Tatum is going to play even more than expected this season after the Hayward injury. Were you watching when it happened?
AW: Yeah, he’s gonna have to step up for them if they wanna do well this year. I was sitting on the same couch I’m on now. Couldn’t believe what I saw. It was deflating. All the excitement that comes with opening night was gone. So devastating. I felt so terrible for him, immediately started praying.
Awful thing to watch, but a nice takeaway from those situations is witnessing how NBA players react as a brotherhood when of theirs goes down like that.
How’s your own recovery going, by the way?
AW: It’s going well. Just started light walking for the first time in four weeks. It’s crazy how much you take things like walking for granted when you can’t do it for a period of time .
How’s the whole thing being mentally?
AW: It’s tough because I wanna be out there playing, but I’m working every day to try and get back out there.
Sucks to be injured, but you’re in a pretty nice spot overall. Would you agree? Two years ago you were undrafted and headed to China. Now you have a pretty good contract in the NBA.
AW: Yeah, it’s a blessing, man. Been through a lot to be where I am today and wanting to stay and improve is what drives me every day. Nothing has come easy and I don’t expect that to change.
How was signing that sweet multi-year NBA deal last summer? Was it better than signing your first contract with the Suns? (Your boy Jaylen has scored 13 points in the first quarter, by the way).
AW: It was crazy. One of my best basketball-related memories for sure, not only financially but the fact I got to stay where I wanted to be in my hometown was really dope. (And yeah, bruh is really ballin’ right now).
So you’re not among those who find it stressful to play in their hometown because of family/friends demands and such?
AW: Not at all. I embrace it. I love the fact that I get to go out there and play for my city every night. It shows that it’s bigger than me.
I was surprised to see your mom is actually the police chief of the city. First woman to get the job too. How about that?
AW: She’s amazing and was the best person for that job! It’s great too because we are super close and us working in the same city lets me see her a lot.
Do I get you in trouble if I ask you about Sheriff Arpaio? 😎
AW: I personally don’t agree with what he stood for and I’m glad he is no longer the sheriff. That’s all I’ll say about it
When your mom was sworn in, you couldn’t make it because of work. Is that the biggest downside of NBA life, that you are going to miss big things like that from time to time because of the demanding schedule?
AW: Yeah, I was bummed I couldn’t make her official swearing-in. I’ve also missed a lot of my nieces and nephews birthday parties and stuff like that, but it comes with the job. My family and friends are understanding about how much time my job consumes.
Plus the perks are nice too.
AW: Great perks like NBA League Pass for free LOL.
Wow, you get it free?
AW: Yeah man, something we worked out in our new CBA.
That’s big. What other freebies do you get as an NBA player that we may not know of?
AW: The video games we are in. We can usually request copies, which is really dope.
How did you like your NBA 2K rating this year?
AW: I think it was pretty fair. 75 for an undrafted guy going into his third year I think it’s solid.
We had an article on HoopsHype a few weeks ago about how seriously some NBA guys took their rating in the game. Some were really pissed off about it. Do you know any case? It’s OK if you rat out a teammate 😄
AW: Haha. Naw, I don’t know any. I do know Devin liked his rating for sure. I think he was in like the low-to-mid 80’s.
Going back to the police thing. Was joining the force a Plan B for you if the basketball thing didn’t pan out? Or not a consideration at all?
AW: Not at all LOL. I love and respect what my mom does, but it’s not for me.
What was Plan B for you?
AW: I don’t really know. I wouldn’t mind doing TV broadcasting. I love to talk about and watch sports, coaching or scouting maybe. But it never got to that point.
This is not much of a game, huh? Thought NYK would be a bit more competitive.
AW: Not at all. KP hasn’t been able to get it going. C’s have done a good job of pressuring the basketball and pushing the pace.
Are they the biggest threat to Cavs in the East even after the Hayward injury?
AW: No, I don’t see a real threat in the East for the Cavs.
Co-sign. Let’s talk a bit about the situation in Phoenix right now. How would you describe the last 48 hours?
AW: Hmmm, it has been a strange couple of days. Any time you change coaching staff in the middle of a season that tends to happen, but we have stayed together through the change and went out and got a W Monday night, which was big.
Did you get a chance to speak to Earl Watson after the firing?
AW: Yeah, I did. Just thanked him for the opportunity he gave me and how appreciative I was of him and his staff.
Is he OK?
AW: Yeah, Earl will be just fine.
What about the Eric Bledsoe situation? We’re all assuming he’s done in Phoenix.
AW: Bled is my homeboy and I want the best for him. Would hate to see him go, but I know that it is a business and things happen.
A Bledsoe move might involve other Phoenix players too. Does that have an impact on team atmosphere? (If you’re not keeping track, Porzingis is 1 of 12 now. Rough night).
AW: The thought of players moving hasn’t impacted us. We are a strong, resilient group and stay together through whatever. (And yeah man, 82 games you’re bound to have a couple you aren’t too proud of).
If you had to build a team from scratch and you could pick any player in the NBA, how many would be ahead of Kristaps on your list?
AW: I think five! I think being Top 5 is saying something.
It would be either Towns or Antetokounmpo at No. 1 for me. You?
AW: Bron, then those two assuming we are talking about the start of their careers. Giannis is really special.
Giannis’ play has to be the big story of the start of the season. 37 ppg on 66 percent shooting 🔥
AW: Yeah, it’s fun to watch. I make sure I watch all the Bucks games because you never know what he’ll do next!
The scary thing is he’s not even making outside shots.
AW: He may never have to.
You know he’s going to the basket and there’s no stopping him.
AW: Physically imposing
Tatum 22 points, Jaylen 20. They combine for 41 years on this earth.
AW: Haha. Them young boys can hoop!
It was not a great game, but it was a good conversation. I’d like to wrap this up with one important question: What’s your take on Aron Baynes’ haircut?
AW: Good convo for sure! And LOL, I don’t know man. I couldn’t rock it.