Here's an intriguing story out of this year's draft. For teams in need of a point guard who have no shot at Mike Bibby - in other words, teams that don't have the No. 1 pick - it's worth a listen.
The No. 2 point guard in the draft, according to many scouts, is Jason Williams, a 6-foot-2, 188-pound, 22-year-old who is a terrific basketball player and a horrendous student. He's also been caught twice with marijuana in his system."Look, the only angels in this world are up in heaven," said Orlando guard Nick Anderson, who has befriended Williams since he dropped out of the University of Florida.
"He made some mistakes, but what NBA player hasn't? He's not a bad kid at all. He's a great kid. And my goodness, can he play the game. I've seen him do things with a ball that hardly anyone in our league can do. I'd love to have him playing right here in Orlando. He can get you the ball and have fun doing it. He's like Jason Kidd, except he can shoot."
Williams comes from the mountains of West Virginia, where he was raised by his father, a state trooper. He signed to attend Providence College but changed his mind when the coaching staff changed and went to Fork Union, Va., Military Academy instead. After eight days there, he transferred to Marshall University to play for coach Billy Donovan. When Donovan left to become coach at Florida, Williams followed him.
"I hated school," he admitted. Eligibility questions dogged him at every stop. He played one season at Marshall - and was named Southern Conference freshman of the year. He dazzled the Southeastern Conference in half a season at Florida before being bounced from the team for failing his second drug test. Both times he tested positive for marijuana.
"I'm the first to admit I made mistakes," Williams told the Orlando Sentinel. "I did something I'll never do again. I've got to explain that to the NBA. Then I have to show them. I know their concerns. But I didn't live 22 years for me now to take one (urine) test and see my lifelong dream be over. That mistake won't happen again."
There are scouts who believe him. Basketball is Williams' whole life. He currently is projected between picks 10 and 15, but he could move up. An inordinately large number of bad teams - the Clippers, Nuggets, Mavericks, Warriors, Kings, Bucks and Magic, just to name a few - are in desperate need of help at the point.
"His love affair with the game is going to save him, keep him on track," said Dave Pendergraft, player personnel director for the New Jersey Nets. "I don't think he has any other interests. That's why I would bet on him succeeding. He's very, very talented. He just has to sell himself well in the next several weeks."
"Being away from basketball this time just killed me," Williams said. "It was tough, like someone had taken my ball. I understand that another mistake, and it's all over for me. I'm out on the street, sitting on the corner. I know what's at stake here."