Alvin Williams Is Back To Coach The Raptors


Anybody who’s followed the Raptors since the glory days (and yes, by glory days, I mean a 2nd round appearance) loved Alvin Williams. Boogie wore his heart on his sleeve, and played through knee injuries that eventually ended his career early. Today, Doug Smith reports that Williams is close to inking a deal with the Raptors, as an assistant coach:

“The iconic point guard – whose clutch deciding-game jumpshot clinched the only playoff series Toronto has ever won, a five-game set against the New York Knicks in 2000 – is in line to join Jay Triano’s staff as an assistant coach for skills development, bridging the Raptors’ past and future.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” the 34-year-old Williams said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I just feel like I’ve been away from the game so long and I want to get back involved in NBA basketball.”

Williams, who last played pro hoops in a brief two-game stint with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007, would provide Triano with a staff member old enough to remember when things were best around the Raptors but young enough to truly connect with many of the players he’d be teaching.

“I think I’m still really in tune with the players,” said Williams, who has been living in his hometown of Philadelphia since retiring and working with players at his alma mater, Villanova University.

“I know that I’m not that far removed from the game; I know some of the problems that go on in a season.”

According to sources, Triano and Williams are expected to meet in the next couple of days to try to finalize a deal. Triano, elevated from interim coach earlier this month, is still putting together his complete staff.”

There will be plenty of people who disagree with this move, based on Williams’ lack of coaching experience, and a lingering feeling that this move is more sentimental than anything. Personally, I have no idea what kind of impact Boogie will have, but I still have some faith (for now) in Bryan Colangelo and Jay Triano.

Smith, for what it’s worth, likes the move, as he writes in his blog:

“The one thing the Raptors don’t have is any sense of tradition. There are no old Raptors still in the fold – hell, Alvin played here in 2006 and the only guys left from that team are Bosh, Calderon and, maybe Joey – and welcoming one back can’t hurt.

Two, he’s a good basketball mind and the more of those you have, the better. When he played, he “thought” the game as much as played it and if he can impart some of that knowledge to guys like Jose and Roko and whatever rookies they bring in, it has to help.

Third, if players want to whine during the season – and, trust me, they do – I think they’ll find it easier to whine to a young coach two years removed from the game than anybody else. Don’t diminish the need for a sounding board.”

It sounds like a reasonable explanation to me, considering the Raptors badly need some leadership and character. There’s no doubt Williams brings those characteristics to the table, and he should help the team’s current leaders mature on and off the court. On the other hand, fans would surely like to see an experienced assistant coach to help with the X’s and O’s, and will still probably come in the form of former Memphis Grizzlies head coach, and long-time Phoenix Suns assistant, Marc Iavaroni. If Triano lands Iavaroni as his lead assistant, it makes the Boogie signing even more rational. Smith writes that an announcement could happen Thursday or Friday.

I will say this – It will be great to have Alvin Williams around. How much will he improve the team? That question remains to be answered.

For the nostalgic types, here is video of Boogie’s cluth shot against the New York Knicks – The deciding Game 5, at Madison Square Garden. The shot takes place at 1:15 (Check out JYD’s reaction).

-DL

Smith is here and here.

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