Have the Portland Trail Blazers found their point guard of the future in Brandon Williams?
This article is in no way endorsing or suggesting that the Portland Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard. However, Lillard is 31 and that is about middle age for an NBA player. As much as we wish he could, Lillard can’t be cloned — though the thought of having multiple decades of Dame Time is fever-inducing in the best way.
There is a Dame Jr. out and about in the world, but he’s about a decade-and-a-half from winding up on scouting reports if he even chooses to follow his father’s footsteps.
Brandon Williams went undrafted out of the University of Arizona in the 2020 draft after playing for the Wildcats from 2018-2019. He made himself available to the G-League Draft Pool in 2021 and was again passed up. Williams eventually would sign with the G-League’s Winchester Knicks, appearing in thirteen games, where he averaged 22.8 points and nearly seven assists.
On December 26, the Blazers came calling and signed Williams and two others from the G-League to 10-day contacts, as the team had key players like Lillard either on the injury report or in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. In the time of his short contract, he averaged four points, a rebound, and an assist. The team elected not to renew his deal, which meant a return to Winchester for the young guard.
In February, Portland signed Trendon Watford from a two-way contract to a four-year standard contract. This transaction opened up the availability to sign a two-way player, which led them back to Williams. The phenom wound up signing a two-year, two-way deal with the Trail Blazers. Since signing that deal, B-Will has put up 15.6 points and 2.8 points in 27.6 minutes per game, including four starts, according to statmuse.
He’s done so on 42/31/68 shooting marks while acting as interim “tough shot take, tough shot maker” with Anfernee Simons sidelined.
Williams is making a strong case to be Lillard’s understudy for the foreseeable future. The way he is playing at the moment, he’s close to earning a guaranteed contract a la Trendon Watford.
Why waste time trying to find a steady backup floor general in free agency when there’s already a perfectly great option on the roster, with room to grow. He will certainly have to prove he deserves this, which he’ll have the opportunity to do so for the rest of the season, in Summer League, and training camp.
In the short time he has played in Rip City, his numbers show he belongs in this league — hopefully on the full-time roster of the Portland Trail Blazers. B-Will has already proven to be an immediate contributor and will only get better with time. Let’s hope that his growth is with the Portland Trail Blazers.