If Jay Williams ever plays another NBA game, I'll eat my proverbial hat.
Until then, I don't want to hear about how he's trying out for whichever team. What 'percentage' he is at relative to full strength, or relative to his actually being back in the league. He is done, until proven otherwise. From what we all read at the time of his accident, it's a hell of a story that he's able to walk again. If he does come back it'd be a feel-good addition to that story, but until I see it I refuse to believe any of it.
The Williams comeback speculation hasn't been reported much in the mainstream, but has served as blog and forum fodder since before the season. Brian McCormick's blog , for instance, is a recommended read (an actual basketball coach, so he undoubtedly knows more than most of us chump bloggers), but man, enough of the Jay Williams 'updates':
Read the post from the end of last August, as McCormick mentions all the point guards signed in the offseason and comes away wondering why Jay Williams didnt' get a call:
Nevermind the several-all-star-games 'lock' (Bulls fans would know how far-fetched that statement is), the rhetorical questions abound throughout: Isn't Williams better than so-and-so? Isn't he less of a risk than that-other-injured-guy?
It's been continuing this whole season:
1/31/06: "Williams, if he is 90% (heard he is a little rusty, but one report said the only visible difference is a calf sleeve and ankle brace), is a heck of a bargain and an upgrade from Jason Hart."
2/1/06: "With Fisher's ability to play some 2, would Jay Williams' signing offset the loss of, say, Pietrus who many teams (Indiana) supposedly covet?"
2/16/06: "He apparently has some work to do on his rehab, but Williams at 85% is still better than Eric Snow, right?"
Mr. McCormick, are you Jay Williams' agent?
I have not read a single quotation of an NBA talent evaluator (not that such a quote doesn't exist) who has said that Jay Williams is ready to be back in the league. Has anything changed since last July, when Williams (and backed up by trainer-of-the-stars Tim Grover, no less!) said, "I'll be somewhere by October"?
It all just seems like Williams' people tells whoever wants to listen that Jay is up for roster spots all around the league. In Toronto (In September!), or Golden State. People got excited once that he'd return to the Bulls.
But where is he now? Some rec league for Goldman Sachs, as I've read at McCormick's blog and my own. People joke about seeing draft prospects only in European league games, and we're all supposed to believe Jay Williams is ready based on his Goldman Sachs box scores?
If any GM thought he was ready, he'd be on a team. If Jay Williams thought he was ready, he'd be in a minor league proving it. Why not play for someone who's opinion matters in the league, not some buddies happy to spread tales of his upper-body strength? See if the Arkansas Rim-Rockers or Florida Flame will take a flyer, or the scores of ABA and CBA teams out there.
He is becoming like Dennis Rodman, getting his name out so we don't forget it, making up tryouts and interest. What really gets me is that his name alone seems enough for some fan to holler why his team isn't giving him a chance. Why should Jay Williams get a chance before fellow diminutive ACC product Will Bynum, who's leading the NBA D-League in scoring? It's an insult to guys working on their games in the basketball outposts, not to mention those fringe players at the end of their respective NBA rosters who've at least at one point proved they belonged, which is more than can be said for Williams during his 'comeback'.
No, once being the #2 pick is enough to get all excited, I suppose. But in my mind, thanks to an irresponsible lack of good judgement we might as well be talking about a completely different person. The draft status is a long memory, and right now I'd put my money on fellow #2 pick Darko Milicic being less of a bust than Jay Williams.