Fighting for spot, Williams won't run and hide

Fighting for spot, Williams won't run and hide

Brown on roster cuts: 'It's never easy'

October 26, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Rodney Williams appeared in two games for the Sixers this preseason. (USA Today Images)

When Rodney Williams heard coach Brett Brown was looking for some of the players after Thursday’s workout, he thought about hiding. If the coach couldn’t find him, he couldn’t be cut from the team, Williams reasoned.

But Brown wasn’t looking for Williams. Instead, the undrafted rookie out of Minnesota will compete with Hollis Thompson and Gani Lawal for the last spot on the roster.

“I just wasn’t someone who was being talked to. That’s how I found out that I was still sticking around,” Williams said after Friday’s practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I thought about it, but I didn’t run and hide.”

The Sixers have until 5 p.m. on Monday to whittle the roster down to 15 players. That means one more player has to be waived before the deadline. After that, the Sixers can assign three players to their D-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers.

Williams has a good shot at sticking around. Brown and general manager Sam Hinkie are building a team based on speed and athleticism and Williams could fit that criteria. At 6-foot-7 and 205 pounds, Williams is the quintessential slash-forward. He could be a big guard or a small forward.

Working against Williams is his shooting ability -- or lack thereof. Though he has appeared in just two exhibition games, Williams is just 1 for 6 from the field and missed both of the three-pointers he took. In four years at Minnesota, Williams shot just 25.4 percent from three-point range with an average of 8.5 points per game.

But Williams can play defense and the Sixers need all of that they can get. Williams blocked 141 shots in four years at Minnesota and was third in the Big Ten in blocks in 2011-12. That’s not bad for a 6-foot-7 guy.

As for which player will take that last spot, Brown is keeping his eyes open.

“[We’re looking for] NBA skill,” Brown said. “Is he an NBA shooter, is he an NBA athlete, can he become an NBA shooter, can he become an NBA athlete? It’s related to people’s skills and their talent and what one thing can they bring to the table that might be unique to our team.”

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