2002 NBA Preview

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Alvin Williams
Toronto Raptors
No matter what position he plays, Williams is a key part of Toronto's future. Allsport
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 185 lbs.
College: Villanova
NBA Exp.: 2
Stat to note
Williams ranked second in the NBA last season in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.95).

Scouting report

Toronto head coach Lenny Wilkens believes Alvin Williams is just what the doctor ordered for his backcourt. Ironically it was doctors' orders that kept Williams a Raptor.

The 27-year-old guard was part of a proposed trade with the Boston Celtics back on Feb. 9, 2000, which would have brought power forward Danny Fortson to Toronto. But the deal was rescinded two days later, when Celtics¹ team doctors declared that Williams had flunked their physical.

Williams, who was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round (48th overall) of the 1997 Draft and then acquired by Toronto in a February '98 trade, was determined to prove the Celtics wrong. He responded by taking his game to a higher level.

His hard work paid off last season, when he became Toronto's starting point after the Raptors sent Mark Jackson to New York, a move predicated on Williams' defense.

The rejuvenated Williams averaged 12.3 points, 7.2 assists and 2.1 steals in the starting role and, when moved to the two during the playoffs, keyed the Raptors' five-game, first-round upset of the Knicks, averaging 17.4 points and hitting several key shots.

In Toronto's playoff run, which ended in a hard-fought seven-game series with Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia, Williams had a 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Williams' big payoff came this past summer, when the Raptors rewarded him with a five-year, $25 million deal.

-- Jon Cooper, Special to CNNSI.com


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