Malik Williams: 2023-24 Season in Review

From getting cut in the G League to starting games in the NBA, Malik Williams' season was a rollercoaster.

The following is part of Raptors Republic’s series of pieces reviewing the season for the Toronto Raptors. You can find all the pieces in the series here.

When Malik Williams joined Toronto late in the year, he became the 30th player to dawn a Raptors jersey this season at one point or another. If that seems like a lot, yeah it is, the most in franchise history actually. It was also one shy of the record for participants a team has used throughout a season, with the Memphis Grizzlies setting the record this past year.

Williams was only with the Dinos for a short period, to the tune of seven games with only 34 total shots. For those handful of contests, however, he was thrown into the fire immediately. The same day the 25-year-old signed his 10-day contract he was in the starting lineup, against one of the league’s best in the Minnesota Timberwolves nonetheless.

It went about as well as you would think, Williams went 0-7 from the field and was a minus-24 in the game. Oh yeah, it was also the worst loss in franchise history. Canada’s team got smacked around by 48 points with only eight available players. This game was a low point in a season that saw lawsuits, trades, injuries, a lifetime ban, and pizza, and it just so happened to be Williams’ debut.

Following that, to close the year with Toronto the Fort Wayne, Indiana native averaged 2.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.3 assists, and one stock (blocks plus steals) in over 15 minutes per game. He shot 26.5 percent from the field (4.9 attempts per game), 20 percent from deep (0.7 attempts per game), and shot two free throws total and didn’t make either.

With Williams in the lineup, Toronto closed the campaign 2-5, finishing the year 25-57. If that record seems low, once again yeah it is, as it became the seventh-worst mark in franchise history. Amid the losing, the 25-year-old showcased skills, however. Williams’ 6-foot-11, 250-pound frame provided value as a solid rebounder who also contested shots at the rim. He is strong, a great athlete and showed flashes of perimeter play on both ends of the floor.

His first taste of NBA action could have gone better, but it was an accomplishment nonetheless based on where the former five-star recruit had begun the year. Williams started 2023-2024 trying out for the Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat affiliate) in the G League where he got cut. Thanks to the volatile nature of the G League with numerous call-ups and injuries, the Skyforce brought him back. He then impressively worked himself into a starting role on one of the best teams in the league, where they finished second-best at 22-12.

The former Louisville Cardinal (where he was a teammate of Jordan Nwora) averaged 11.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and two stocks. He was also somewhat efficient, shooting 43.6 percent from the field (9.9 attempts per game), 32 percent from beyond the arc (2.9 attempts per game) and 65.2 percent from the charity stripe on over 23 minutes per game.

Overall, Williams was a starter on a top regular season team that lost in the playoffs to the eventual G League champions Oklahoma City Blue. He’s a solid player who deserved to get a call-up but was thrown into a dysfunctional situation during the franchise’s most turbulent season in a decade.

From getting cut in the G League to starting games in the NBA within one season, Malik Williams NBA career is just getting started.