Williams finally gets opportunity

first_imgLakers coach Phil Jackson credited Williams with playing a “very fine floor game” and added he would continue turning to Williams and Aaron McKie – the only two Lakers older than 30 – ahead of young guards Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. “We’re investing things in our younger players because we realize they have great potential,” Jackson said, “but in the process we know we take a little bit of an experience hit because of it, and right now is a time we need experience.” It was an opportunity for which Williams waited all season. He signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract last summer with the Lakers after spending two seasons out of the NBA, the first with a Russian team and the second with FC Barcelona. But Williams also was suffering from a stress fracture in his pelvis that limited his floor time during training camp. The Lakers settled into a rotation without him while Williams had to make his first priority recovering from the injury. He said Saturday he is pain free and added he has a new respect for players across the NBA suffering from injuries. EL SEGUNDO – Shammond Williams now admits he sometimes questioned his decision to leave a starting job on a team that advanced to the Euroleague Final Four last season for a spot on the bench with the Lakers. “I can’t lie to you,” Williams said. “I felt like being one of the elite players in Europe and coming here, I was like the only one that wasn’t playing. Everybody’s playing, and all these guys’ teams I beat and with probably less talent than they had.” Williams had played in only 11 of the Lakers’ first 55 games this season before everything changed in Friday’s victory over Boston. Williams was the first guard off the bench and finished with six points, four assists and no turnovers in 20 minutes. center_img “Being hurt, you can play with,” Williams said. “Being injured, you can’t.” Jackson, meanwhile, admitted Farmar and Vujacic were disappointed, although he was able to find first-half minutes for both players Friday. “They feel like they’re getting bypassed, and they haven’t really done anything wrong, except we’re losing,” Jackson said. “When that happens, sometimes you have to make changes. If I could make changes with big guys, I’d probably do that, too.” Smush Parker sprained his left ankle and couldn’t practice Saturday. He is probable for this afternoon’s game but joins a long list of Lakers suffering from ankle injuries. Jackson said neither Luke Walton nor Kwame Brown would make the two-game trip, and Brown’s ankle was feeling better than Walton’s. [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read More..