Raptors sign Malik Williams to a 10-day contract

The Raptors add another big. Finally.

Toronto’s churn through the G League continues. Next up: Malik Williams. And, most importantly, he’s a big!

Williams played five years in Louisville (he missed most of his fourth year due to a foot fracture), where he averaged 8.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in his junior and senior years as a starter. He’s a bruising big, best known for his defensive skills. After going undrafted in the NBA draft, he played in Europe in 2022-23, playing for Anwil Wloclawek in the Polish League.

He popped this season in the G League. After starting on the bench in the Showcase Cup, he became a starter in the regular season, improving his numbers across the board. He’s put up some huge games, including a 20-20 game against the Oklahoma City Blue in a big win. He’s enormously strong, and he fights to block shots. His foot speed is modest for his size, but he’s been able to hang with guards at every other level of his career, at least for short stretches. Whether that continues in the NBA is unknown, where guards are much faster and more explosive. He has quick hands, and if he doesn’t meet players above the rim, he is quite solid at stripping them on the floor. He doesn’t have incredible vertical pop, so he can see passes go over his head. Positioning in the NBA is incredibly hard in the pick and roll, so expect some time to adjust there.

He’s a solid passer for a big, and it does seem to be his instinct upon receiving the ball. Despite being an old-school big in some ways, he finds cutters from the short roll.

More than anything, Williams is a big defender coming to a team without much of that beyond Kelly Olynyk, if you count him. He will bang with big bodies, and the Raptors desperately need someone capable of doing that for the remainder of the season. He has a clearer path to minutes and impact than the last few G-League pickups for the Raptors. Expect him to see time almost immediately. He has had a number of injuries to the same foot over his career, including a fracture that cost him most of his fourth year in college. But he has been healthy this year and playing exceptionally.