The Los Angeles Lakers signed former No. 2 overall pick turned journeyman forward Derrick Williams to a 10-day contract last week, giving the Southern California native a chance to suit up for the team he grew up rooting for with his family close by and able to attend his games.
It’s unknown how much Williams will actually play on his limited-time contract, if the Lakers will sign him to a second 10-day pending the culmination of his current deal or perhaps let him go. But given that Los Angeles is sorely lacking wing depth, Williams makes sense as someone to take a flier on.
Whether or not Williams ultimately remains with the Lakers past his current deal with the team, he’s still excited for the chance to play close to home and simply to be back in his hometown after spending the the earlier portion of the season playing professionally in China, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“I’m really excited,” Williams said. “A lot of nerves, but I’m just ready to play. The last game I played was in China so it’s going to be a big difference, but it’s going to be very good.”
“I think I chose the China route for a reason,” Williams said. “I wanted to get away and really work on my game. That’s what I did and I’m glad to be in the position I am. … I’m from Los Angeles, my family’s from here and I think that’s going to be a good thing not just for myself but for my family as well.”
Williams will likely never live up to being selected second overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, but at this point he’s playing for his career and should be motivated to do whatever he can to make himself stick in Los Angeles.
However, how “good” Williams’ Lakers tenure ends up being will depend a lot on how quickly Brandon Ingram recovers from his groin injury. But if Williams gets minutes and is able to help the young Lakers continue to shock the league with their competitiveness, he might just play his way back into NBA relevancy.