Last week the Phoenix Suns took on the Chicago Bulls at home and came away with an 115-97 victory that no one saw coming. This simply should not have happened. The Bulls had a full-fledged roster with guards Dwyane Wade (wrist) and All-Star Jimmy Butler (heel) returning from injury. Including power forward Dragan Bender (ankle injury, still out 4-6 weeks), the Suns were down two centers, Alex Len with his one-game suspension and Tyson Chandler (ankle injury).
Since the victory over the Bulls, the Suns have fallen flat. Granted, losing 133-102 on the road to the Houston Rockets on the back end of a back-to-back, without Eric Bledsoe (rest) and Chandler, is more than acceptable. Losing 110-108 to the New Orleans Pelicans in front of a home crowd at Talking Stick Resort Arena is heartbreaking. So what is the key element that helps propel the Suns past the Bulls, but is missing against the other match ups? Answer: Alan “Sauce” Williams.
Phoenix Suns Could Use More “Sauce” In Their Recipe
“Alan does a lot of things that no one knows for this team,” said teammate Devin Booker. “He’s a leader on this team and you see how he supports us, his reactions of the week, but he brings it every day in practice, every day on the bench. So to see him out there shining, getting his opportunity in front of his hometown, it’s unbelievable.”
Alan Williams, 24, has more experience in his young age than a lot of people will see in a lifetime. Acquired by the Suns last season on a 10-day contract, Williams has proven beyond all doubt that he is worthy of a more permanent spot on an NBA roster. “Sauce” can flat-out play basketball.
A Little About The Sauce
In his college years (2011-2015), at UC Santa Barbra, Williams averaged 15.5 points, 10 rebounds, and nearly two blocks per game. After college, Sauce played in the 2015 NBA Summer League and earned All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors.
Included in his resume is Williams’ short stint with the Chinese Basketball Association. Sauce played a total of 35 games for a team called the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles. He averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game.
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Recent stats aren’t indicative of the raw talent Williams can unleash at will. Given enough playing time, Sauce is a double-double machine. Against the Bulls, Williams came away with 14 points and 11 rebounds, including four blocks. In Houston, finishing with only two made free throws, four rebounds, and a block, Sauce was only allowed 10 minutes of playing time. In the Pelicans loss, Sauce never came off the bench.
With their most recent win coming on Wednesday night, the Suns dominated the Los Angeles Lakers 137-101. Williams came away with two points and six rebounds, though he was allowed only five minutes of garbage time play. His services were not needed in this match-up. The Suns had come to play, the Lakers were already on All-Star Break.
With the trade deadline looming oh, so near, the Phoenix Suns are scrambling in their search to locate a star-caliber player willing to don a Suns jersey. GM Ryan McDonough made it clear that he has learned from last season’s trade fiasco and the failed attempt to corral forward All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge.
Maybe, just maybe, the team will reconsider making any of their notoriously risky trades and just be content utilizing the talent they have already on the bench. Alan Williams is a special kind of player. He could be the missing element that would make the Suns a winning organization, the secret ingredient to a well-made sauce.