After spending last Thanksgiving in China, Phoenix native Alan Williams has landed his “dream job” with the Suns, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. The 23-year-old big man’s quest to play in the NBA started with a 10-day contract with Phoenix in March. He chose the Suns over the Rockets, who were willing to sign him for the remainder of the season. Williams’ gamble paid off when Phoenix gave him a multi-year contract, and his $875K salary for this season became guaranteed in September. He is averaging 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and posted two double-doubles last week. Suns coach Earl Watson believes Williams has a 10-year career ahead.
There’s more news out of Phoenix:
- After seeing almost no action in his first 12 games, Tyler Ulis is becoming a reliable backup point guard, Coro writes in a separate story. The 5’10” rookie has averaged 6.8 points, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals over the last four games and is making a case to be part of the regular rotation. “I just come in and try to make the most of my minutes,” Ulis said. “Do what coach and the players want me to do. Get guys involved, get paint touches and get into my man defensively.”
- Watson says rookie Dragan Bender has a bright NBA future, but that won’t guarantee playing time right now, Coro adds in the same piece. The Croatian power forward is seeing just 10 minutes per night through the first month of his career. “I think Dragan is going to have amazing opportunities moving forward,” Watson explained. “We understand he’s a big part of our future as a cornerstone. But the NBA is not just as easy as playing guys you like. There’s a lot of things that go into it.”
- Small forward T.J. Warren is out indefinitely with a minor head injury, the Suns announced on their website. Warren left a game on Friday after just nine minutes of action and hasn’t played since. Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough said the organization has a policy of being extra cautious with injuries to the head and estimated Warren will be sidelined “a matter of weeks.” Warren has appeared in 13 games, all starts, and is averaging 17.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per night.