SCORECARD, Sept. 26, 2005
IT WASN'T the rave a guy with a nonguaranteed contract wants to hear early in training camp. But Vince Carter's take on Jay Williams's first days with the Nets still sounded sweet to the 6'2" point guard, because it meant Williams (below) was back in the NBA. "You can see sometimes he's struggling, but we all appreciate his effort and the way he plays," Carter told The Star-Ledger of Newark last week. "He doesn't make any excuses."
Three years after a motorcycle crash seemingly ended his career following a promising rookie season, Williams, whom the Bulls chose second in the 2002 draft, is fighting for a job as a backup to Nets starter Jason Kidd. If Williams, 25, who made $6 million from the three-year deal he signed with Chicago in '02, makes the team, he's likely to earn $744,551, the NBA's second-year minimum.
Williams isn't as quick as he once was--he underwent six surgeries for a fractured pelvis and a severed nerve and torn ligaments in his left leg--but he believes he's a better shooter and a "more sound player." (He spent much of the summer working out at the Nets' practice facility.) "I keep getting better," he said. "I keep working hard, and hopefully it will continue to pay off."
CRAIG WARGA/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (WILLIAMS)