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 Sioux Falls Skyforce

Player Recap: Malik Williams

May 23, 2024 - NBA G League (G League)
Sioux Falls Skyforce News Release

From a tryout player, to earning a starting spot with the Skyforce, to becoming one of the best big men in the NBA G League, and ending his season on two 10-day contracts, Williams accomplished what all players dream of when coming in to that situation.

"His story represents the grind of getting to where you want to go," Skyforce head coach Kasib Powell said. "You might be overlooked or an after-thought, but once given an opportunity, you have to run with it. He showed steady growth each month of the season and became a focal point for opposing teams. Players around the league, but also internationally, can look at a success story and feel fired up that it's possible to work your way from the bottom to the top."

One could argue his improvement from the Showcase Cup to the regular season was one of the best of all players in the NBA G League.

He started his season off averaging 6.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per 15.3 minutes a game in nine appearances.

Against Grand Rapids on Dec. 6, Malik posted 16 points on 6-12 FGA (2-4 3PA), seven rebounds, three blocks and a +12, which proved to be a game that got his momentum going.

In the regular season, playing in 33 games, he saw jumps in his splits to 11.1 points on 43.6 FG%, 9.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per 23.2 minutes a game. Not to mention, he went from zero double doubles, to 13 in the regular season. Williams also finished the regular season fifth in the entire league in total rebounds (306), sixth in total defensive rebounds (205) and fifth in offensive rebounds (101).

On Jan. 9, he secured 26 points on 9-14 FGA, 19 rebounds and four assists to help the Skyforce continue their fast start to the regular season. He followed that up with 29 points on 10-14 FGA (6-6 3PA), 13 rebounds and three blocks against Maine on Jan. 19.

Williams would go on a stretch from Feb. 9 - Mar. 12 (10 games) where he averaged 13.3 points on 40.2 FG%, 14.7 rebounds. 2.7 assists and 0.9 blocks. In those 10 games, he compiled seven double doubles, in which six were 14+ rebound performances.

"It really started to click for him," Powell said. "That type of improvement usually takes an offseason, not the second half of the same season.

He really was able to find his niches and became the best rebounding big in the league that wasn't on an NBA deal. That is a commodity teams will always look for."

As the Skyforce was preparing for their second straight playoff appearance, Williams received the call he had been waiting for. On Apr. 3, he inked a 10-day contract with the Toronto Raptors, becoming the sixth NBA Call-Up of the season for Sioux Falls. He then started for Toronto that night in Minnesota.

He would finish the regular season with the Raptors, which would follow up with another 10-day contract. His stint was highlighted by a seven-point, 14-rebounds and two-steal performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Apr. 10.

"Those types of opportunities are what we dream of as a staff, too," Powell said of Williams being able to not only make an NBA roster, but play meaningful minutes. "We were so excited for him to get his chance. He was able to get live reps and minutes. That is so valuable to a player trying to crack a roster. Momentum is going to continue to work in his favor, and once you get a taste of that (NBA), you find ways to turn your game up a notch, and I expect that out of Malik."

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