He's methodical, calculated, slow to adjust to new surroundings, but determined to get comfortable over the course of time. Case in point: the K Street Mall.
More than eight months after the forward was traded to Sacramento from Atlanta, he went to the mall for the first time the other day. And don't even bother asking what other local sites Williams has visited, considering he couldn't find Old Sacramento on his own if his next contract was there waiting for him on the cobblestones.
Rushing into a situation just isn't his style.
When it comes to a player drafted so high (No. 5) so relatively long ago (2006) and with so little to show for it, conventional wisdom would have the Duke product hitting the panic button some time ago. If not before, then surely now, considering the Kings have made it clear they have no plans to pick up his team option for the 2009-10 season (worth $4.3 million) by the Oct. 31 deadline, and he has no assurances of an NBA career beyond next April.
But as Williams discussed the current state of his slow-moving career after practice Sunday, there was no fear in his eyes. He still knows he belongs among the world's best. If not here, then somewhere.
"Very few players come in right away and have an impact," Williams said. "Then you have another group (of young players) who are going to come in and fit that system (of their first team). And then you have another group where they're still trying to find a nichè in the system they have. Of those groups, I fall in the last one, so I've got to keep working and stay positive. I have no doubts that I belong."
Williams credits his father with his mentality. Joe Williams was a 6-8 forward who played at Marshall and later at Oklahoma Christian. And for all the times he told his son about those 30-point, 30-rebound nights, the focus of the lessons was far less flashy.
"I was always taught, especially by my dad, that once you step inside the lines you have no friends on the court," said Williams, who is engaged to WNBA star Candace Parker. "Whether I know you or not, I'm going to be physical with you and try to bang with you.
kENNY Natt said he has been trying to keep Shelden in good spirits, sharing stories of players from his past who took a similar road before becoming productive in the NBA. His latest example is Mo Williams, the Cleveland guard who was stuck on Utah's bench during Natt's nine seasons as a Jazz assistant. "There are so many success stories, and sometimes you're just with the wrong team at the wrong time," said Natt.
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