“I guess my body’s gotten used to it,” said Williams.
He also has the peculiar habit of arriving at the arena on the late side, about 90 minutes before the start of the game.
“I don’t like idle time,” he said.
Once there, though, Williams has an active schedule: 15 minutes in the training room getting stretched out, 10 minutes in the weight room doing exercises with a stretch band and a medicine ball, then about 17 minutes on the court making 150 field goals as Cassell feeds him passes.
Before a recent home game ahead of the playoffs, Williams made nearly 80 percent of his attempts, including two skyscraping moonshots from the baseline, which is a shot that he has developed in case a 7-footer lunges at him with his arms extended. Williams says he only practices shots that he will attempt in games, however improbable or acrobatic.
“I catch myself at least two or three times a game just putting my hands up, like, ‘How did that even happen?’” Shamet said.
Williams wraps up his on-court work by sinking 20 free throws and running 10 court-width sprints, then retreats to the locker room to put on his ankle braces and check his phone. “Just to make sure there’s no family emergencies or anything like that,” he said.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the Clippers have their team meeting. Before they head to the court, Williams gathers his teammates around him for one final huddle — or rather, they gather around him, as if he has some sort of gravitational pull.
Once the game begins, Williams takes a seat on the bench — which is the only time he stops moving. But he is watching his potential defenders and studying the flow, readying himself for the moment when he sheds his warm-ups late in the first quarter.