The Nets can make some bad picks in the NBA draft. That didn’t happen when they used the third pick of the 1981 NBA Draft to select Buck Williams
Mark Aguirre and Isiah Thomas went at one at two in that draft.
In his first season, Williams was the Rookie Of The Year and named to the All-Rookie team. For his second season, he was named to the All-NBA second team. He also played in the All-Star game those two years.
He would make another appearance in the 1986 All-Star game.
Williams would be a Net for eight years. He had three seasons of 18 or more points per game during that time. The Nets could always depend on number 52, Williams had five seasons of playing 82 games. For another season he played 81 games.
Sometimes there are win-win trades in the NBA. Both teams are happy with what they received in the deal. That could have been the case when New Jersey and Portland traded players.
The deal was Buck Williams going from the New Jersey Nets to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Sam Bowie and a 1989 first round draft pick. Bowie was often injured during his time with Portland but with New Jersey he put together some solid seasons.
The Nets were also able to find a player with the draft pick, they selected point guard Mookie Blaylock. Portland already had a point guard and center in place and wanted Buck Williams to give them strong play from the power forward position. That was something he did for them.
Portland had Kevin Duckworth at center. He was a scoring center so Buck Williams, a tough rebounder, was a good fit beside him. For his first season in Portland, Williams scored 13.6 and added 9.8 rebounds. His field goal percentage was 54.8%.
The next two seasons, Buck Williams led the NBA in field goal percentage. His numbers were 60.2% in 1990-91 and 60.4% the following season.
Buck Williams would go to the NBA Finals a couple of times with Portland. He was an important contributor to Portland’s success in the playoffs.
As playoff games are more of a half court game, Buck Williams’ screens and offensive rebounding became key parts of their offensive game while his rebounding and defense down the other end of the court were even more critical than during the regular season.
After many great years with Portland he was let go. Some teams may have thought he was too old but that didn’t stop New York signing him as a free agent. Williams had plenty of veteran advice to share with his teammates and when he played his 20 minutes a game he made key defensive plays and rebounded very well.
His rebounds per minute rate wasn’t that different to his numbers with Portland. Williams also kept his field goal percentage up, shooting better than 50% from the field with the Knicks.
His full name was Charles Linwood Williams but he was known as Buck Williams during his NBA career. Williams was originally from Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
He played his college basketball at the University of Maryland. His career college numbers were 10.9 rebounds per game and 13.6 points per game while shooting 61.5% from the field.