Things are different in Europe. What people consider an old building does not mean it went up in 1960. Roads are narrower, the cars smaller. Beer is stronger (which is nice) and the meal portions are generally smaller (which would be good for most Americans anyway).
And for all those American-born NBA guys thinking of heading overseas, the basketball is different, too. Very different.
Marcus Williams — the former UConn star who was a first round pick of the Nets and played four NBA seasons — has spent the last couple years playing in Europe. He likes it, he told Dime Magazine.
But he warned that the NBA players thinking of flooding the European market during the lockout will find this a very different game.
I think the gameplay is a complete 180. Here, there’s more space it seems like and it’s more open, it’s more free world. Over there a lot of the game is half-court, a lot of the offense…like if you get a fast break somebody will foul you before you actually get the fast break started. They don’t really want the game to be up and down, and that makes it difficult for players who like to run.
It’s a lot more physical over there as far as fouls not being called. It’s just completely different from here. Completely different. And I think as foreigners, you don’t really get as many calls as the guys who are from there. They tend to take it a little rough on you.
Throw in the challenges with different foods, different languages and a very different lifestyle, and it’s not easy for everyone.
Which a few guys may learn the hard way.
According to Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside, the Indiana Pacers are expected to pick up (the other) Marcus Williams for the remainder of the season.
Williams is one of the top wings in the D-League, but this call-up is still a bit of a surprise. For one, the fact that Williams was called up by the Pacers is nothing short of shocking since almost all of Marcus’ NBA ties have been with the San Antonio Spurs. Williams’ entire D-League career has been with the Spurs-affiliated Austin Toros, a team to which Williams returned after playing most of this season in China. Part of me always assumed that with the flurry of D-League call-ups in San Antone, Williams would be next on the list after he made his stateside return.
Not so, and now Williams will finish out the season with the Pacers after a short stint back in Austin. The move is also a bit surprising given how difficult it is for scoring wing players to find call-up opportunities. Marcus doesn’t fit that mold as well as say, Morris Almond, but he’s still a high usage player that will be put in low usage situations on the next level. Lots of teams could use an extra point guard or an extra big man, but how many are really desperate for a shooting guard that’s going to put up points and use up shot attempts?
What makes Williams so unique though, is that he’s not just a high-scoring off-guard. He’s a good rebounder for his position (6.8 RPG over his career with the Toros), a pretty decent defender, an efficient scorer (.563 FG% this season), and get this: a point guard prospect. Williams hasn’t had a ton of pro experience running the point, but he’s surprisingly capable of running an offense.
He also has one particular trait that should make him particularly palatable to Pacers fans: he’s not Dahntay Jones. That’s reason enough for the signing right there.
The Pacers are likely using the final games of the regular season to get a good look at Williams before summer. It shouldn’t surprise you to see Williams pop up on the Pacers’ summer league team or in their training camp in the fall, as the franchise is doing the work now to see how he performs against NBA competition and how he gels with the existing core (if you could call it that) in Indiana.