Rodney Williams aims to dazzle Sixers with defense

Undrafted rookie Rodney Williams (left) stays close to Indiana's Christian Watford. Williams leads the Sixers with seven blocked shots in summer-league play.
Undrafted rookie Rodney Williams (left) stays close to Indiana's Christian Watford. Williams leads the Sixers with seven blocked shots in summer-league play. (Associated Press)
Posted: July 13, 2013

ORLANDO - A player with a reputation as a highflier, Rodney Williams says he yearns to make the 76ers as a defensive stopper.

"That's what I want to do," said Williams, an undrafted rookie swingman on the Sixers team in the Orlando Summer League. "I want to get out there and show some energy on the defensive end. And like I said, let the offense come to me."

The 6-foot-7, 205-pounder was known primarily as a dunker at Robbinsdale Cooper High in Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota. But in a league overflowing with spectacular finishers, the former power forward figures he must separate himself from others on the defensive end.

Through four summer-league games, Williams has a team-leading seven blocked shots and is averaging six points. He had three steals Thursday in a 90-89 loss to the Orlando Magic.

In their Orlando Summer League finale, the Sixers will face the Brooklyn Nets in the ninth-place game at 4 p.m. Friday.

Magic first-round pick Victor Oladipo scored the go-ahead basket on a long jumper with 4.4 seconds left. The Sixers had a chance to win, but Khalif Wyatt misfired on a jumper with a second left.

Arnett Moultrie led the Sixers (0-4) in scoring with 23 points and 12 rebounds.

The Sixers aren't looking for Williams to lead them in scoring. They're simply looking for him to play aggressively.

"And when he does, I think personally he has a chance to be a guy that grows into a defensive stopper in this league and play really well," said assistant coach Michael Curry, who is running the summer-league team.

Williams, 21, has had an impressive dunk in each game, but he has made only 1 of 7 three-pointers.

"I want to show some consistency in my jump shot," he said. "I haven't really been able to do that."

His spotty outside shooting and his ballhandling might be the reasons he went undrafted. But Williams believes he can find his niche with the Sixers.

"I just want to show that I'm a hawk on the defensive end," Williams said. "I think that's where I will get my minutes in the league."


Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers.

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