Brandon Williams Brings Survivalist's Mindset to Kings: ‘I Smell the Game'

SACRAMENTO -- The Scott Perry era in Sacramento lasted all of five minutes, but the veteran NBA exec left a mark on the Kings franchise. His connections helped land top tier talent during draft season and he played a role in the free agent class that included high-end veterans George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter.

Perry left for the Big Apple after just three months on the job, creating a need in the Kings' front office. With a clear understanding of what type of piece the team needed to add, Vlade Divac and his group looked for a versatile executive to fill the huge shoes left by Perry.

On Sunday afternoon, up and comer Brandon Williams filled the vacancy on the staff when he was announced as the team's new Assistant General Manager.

"We are so excited that Brandon is joining our front office team," said Divac in the team's official press release. "He is an experienced and talented basketball executive. His knowledge of player development and basketball operations combined with his legal skills will be a strong addition to our team."

He's not a flashy name outside of NBA circles. As a player, Williams played just 18 games in the league over three seasons for three different teams. He spent another handful of years in the minor leagues and in Europe before changing paths.

"I had a very nomadic, hobo type of career," Williams told NBC Sports California Monday via phone. "I do remember a visit into Arco Arena and experiencing Sacramento fans. You never forget that."

As for his role in Sacramento, Williams is looking to fill the gaps missing in the Kings front office. He'll work alongside Divac, Ken Catanella, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bratz and Luke Bornn.

"I'm coming in to work for Vlade, first and foremost, to be a partner and be a support," Williams said. "I'm really excited about his leadership."

As an executive, the 42-year-old Davidson grad worked his way through the league office before joining the Philadelphia 76ers staff four years ago. He was the Director of NBA Player Development from 2005-07 before taking the role of Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA from 2007-13.

In addition to his experience as a player and league exec, Williams also holds a law degree from Rutgers University. He understands the scouting, business and contractual sides of the NBA.

"I think across all personnel, all day-to-day basketball operations matters, I'll be there to be one of his hands - whether it's right or left, I'm here to be his deputy," Williams said of his role under Divac with the Kings.

From the diverse team that Divac has assembled to a flock of young players to the new Golden 1 Center, Williams said there was a lot to be excited about in Sacramento.

Williams hopes to take his experience as a player that spent years trying to earn his way into the league to counsel the Kings' young core. He'll look to build relationships and trust with the players as the team continues to rebuild its culture.

"I didn't have the experience of being a first round pick, I was undrafted and I didn't have a multi-year contract," Williams said of his time as a player. "But the mindset that I had to have in order to survive in order to have any kind of career, was one that I was going to fight for my career everyday."

Like Divac, Williams walks in with the knowledge that the Kings rebuild will require patience. It's a marathon, not a sprint when you open a season with 10 players with two years of NBA experience or less.

"We're looking at this long-term, not short-term," Williams said. "We want to be able to do great things. There are no short cuts to the top. There are shortcuts to the middle, but there are no shortcuts to the top. If we not only want to be a good team, but be a good team for a long time, we'll take our time and make sure that we're built on the right foundational, cultural pieces."

With Perry's departure, the Kings were in need of a jack-of-all-trades type in the front office. There is a hope around the team that Williams will provide the support that Divac and the rest of the front office needs as the franchise looks to build a foundation from the ground up.

"I'm a basketball man, I spent my entire life playing and sort of graduating," Williams said. "When you've been a basketball person to start, I don't think that ever leaves you. I see the game. I smell the game. I feel the game. And I relate with our players and coaches because it's sort of my first language."

Williams is in transition to Sacramento and hopes to be in town full-time very soon. With training camp still more than a month away, the Kings have plenty of time to integrate their newest front office member.

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