Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reactions To the Unofficial Marvin Williams News

I thought I'd wait until things were settled but that's apparently not very new media of me. If the years and money being reported (5 years, $37.5-40 million) are accurate this seems like a good deal for the Hawks whether the intend to keep Marvin Williams or use him as a trading chit. I'd be surprised if he, barring injury, fails to provide $8 million worth of production in any of his age 24-28 seasons.

Tom Ziller likes Marvin and gives Rick Sund high marks for signing him to a long-term deal on the (relative) cheap:
The Hawks played hardball this summer with restricted free agent Marvin Williams, just as the Hawks do with most restricted free agents. Last year, Atlanta GM Rick Sund allowed Josh Smith to hang in the RFA win, only bringing the electric forward back when Memphis got Smith to sign a reasonable offer sheet.


Williams as an unrestricted free agent could have received closer to $50 million, even in this climate. He's a stellar defender at the small forward spot, agile and looooong. But during his first three seasons, Williams's offense lagged and his instincts weren't quite developed. He worked hard last summer to develop a jumper ... and it worked! He went from quizzical to stud in one season, and he's one of the more promising small forwards in the league as a result.

A salary contained below $10 million annually is good work for the Hawks, especially when you consider how reasonable Smith's contract looks. The Hawks still need a piece (or serious improvement from the young core, or a standout season from rookie Jeff Teague) to do better than fourth in the conference, but there's time. There's time.
Mark Bradley calls this "just about the greatest summer in Hawks history" which says something about both the organization's recent streak of competence and its history.

At The Baseline, Bethlehem Shoals comes dangerously close to ticking off each item on the mediot checklist:
Thus, Williams is, to some degree, getting paid based on potential. You'd think that wouldn't be happening in this economic climate, but it is. Roughly $8 million a year for a guy who doesn't even start consistently. The Hawks have Josh Smith, a 3/4, under contract through 2013; they darn sure are keeping 4/5 Al Horford when he's up for an extension; and they still hold the rights to Josh Childress, even if he's headed back to Greece for another overseas tour.
First, the factual error: Williams has started 202 of the 205 games he's played over the last three seasons with two of those reserve appearances occurring in April 2009 after he'd missed a month with a back injury and the Hawks had secured the fourth seed.

Secondly, the description of Josh Smith, a man incapable of getting in a defensive stance, who possesses poor lateral movement, and is the worst jump shooter in the NBA as a "3/4." I think it's safe to dismiss as facile any analysis that fails to understand Josh Smith's obvious strengths and limitations.

He needed only to complain about high ticket prices, call Williams selfish for agreeing to a contract offer, or raise the red flag over early entrant to hit the trifecta.


CoCo said...

Those "factual errors" happen all the time. That's why I take outside analysis of the Hawks with a grain of salt. It would be like me analyzing a player who has played for Milwaukee for several years.

About Marvin, I think 8 Million per is fine for him when you consider he's probably our best on ball defender and he will do whatever is asked of him.
Plus whenever Joe is out he has big games. Maybe he's insurance for when they don't re-sign Joe next summer......

rbubp said...

"You'd think that wouldn't be happening in this economic climate"?

Has this person not noticed that every NBA contract is based on potential, including the one that signs Mike Bibby to lower than his market value because every other NBA PG in history tails off at his age? (Is that not basing salary on potential versus accomplishments?)

Ultimately when make bundled contracts without required incentives it almost has to be that way--a player spends what, three years in his prime? About 85% of the time, or perhaps more, teams are negotiating with someone on the way up or on the way down.

The only way to avoid this is to lower guarantees and include incentives. But that won't work for long unless there is a strong league-wide guideline; if one team ups the guarantee and drops the incentives then they all eventually have to, and that's happened.

And that still doesn't stop overpaying for the player you need right at that moment, because he or the four players like him are only available at that particular moment. Hollinger has written extensively about this.

So Marvin is a great score. But what does worry me is whether the Hawks are prepared to get into a bidding war for a free agent that can bring a championship--or if they are savvy enough to trade into the lottery to get said player and win three years later.

Bethlehem Shoals said...

I wrote another column today on Williams that I like better.

The "starting" thing was sloppy of me, but please, don't accuse me of now knowing Josh Smith's game. That's a factual error.

Bethlehem Shoals said...

re:"starting" Childress off the bench and Williams starting didn't really count as NBA STARTING to me.

CoCo said...

Damn Bret, you are pissing folks off lately! :)

Jason Mann said...

This is like my parents fighting.

Bret LaGree said...

Bethlehem Shoals--

I like today's column better, too.

As to "NBA STARTING" it was back in 06-07 that Childress the reserve played more than Williams the starter. Depsite being more effective than Williams again in 07-08, Childress played about five hundred fewer minutes in four fewer games. Probably cost the Hawks a win or two and helped inspire the Greek adventure.

Bret LaGree said...

Jason Mann--

Your parents are bloggers who never met each other?

Jason Mann said...

I had an odd upbringing: What can I say? =)

Seriously, though. I like Marvin at this price. One thing you can say about the Hawks this decade is that they rarely overpay (other than Joe).

thirdfalcon said...

And if you think we are going to overpay for Joe again your off your rocker

rbubp said...

Shoals' article today is better but it doesn't excuse the stupidity of the previous one (as it's really on a different topic).

And Bethlehem--If you think Josh Smith is a three, has ever played the three in a real NBA game, or should ever be a three, then I blame you for why he shoots all those bricks. Take it back.

JDS said...

"And Bethlehem--If you think Josh Smith is a three, has ever played the three in a real NBA game, or should ever be a three, then I blame you for why he shoots all those bricks. Take it back."

As opposed to Josh Smith or Mike Woodson? Josh Smith needs to actually show some moves before folks will stop confusing him with a 3. I am wondering though, exactly what would you call Josh, I mean position wise. He doesn't appear to have what I would call good skills at any position he plays or doesn't play. He's just athletic as I don't know what.

Steve said...

It's a fair contract for Marvin the small forward. I don't think he's ever going to be great at that position because he doesn't have the quickness to match the best small forwards. He's got great size but he's not someone who can get to wherever he wants offensively and also standout defensively. Power forward is where I think he should be. He's got the size for it and he'll be a nightmare matchup almost every game because he can stretch the floor and few bigs will be able to contain his dribble penetration. He'd go from being an average small forward athlete to a very rangy and uniquely skilled power forward.

Bronnt said...

Josh Smith has never had the game of a 3. Perhaps the attitude of one, but never once, not even for a brief period of time, the game.

A lot of writers want to characterize a man's position according to his size (and by size, I mostly mean height). Sure, Josh is a bit undersized for a 4, but he's stronger than a lot of people give him credit, and his post game has become remarkably solid over the past two seasons. He certainly could show more dedication toward rebounding, but this is true of many players, some of whom are 4s. If hanging out on the perimeter is all it takes to be classifed as a 3, I suppose Mehmet Okur must also be called a SF.

The original article had problems in a lot of ways. It takes time to remind us of Marvin's draft position, which is already trampled to death-he even gives Milwaukee a hat-tip while criticizing that draft by Atlanta. It also assumes that truisim about the Hawks being overstocked with SFs, despite the fact that Mo Evans played 38% of the Hawks SF minutes last year (more than Marvin). In short, Josh Childress is gone, Josh Smith plays 0% of the Hawks minutes at the 3, and JJ plays 73% of his minutes there.

M said...

It seems like a fair contract to me. Marvin gets better every year. Now lets trade Smoove for cryin out loud... for who you ask? I have no freakin idea.

rbubp said...

Steve, I think that's a really good point. Marvin has the shooting skills to be more of a Rashard Lewis than a Lamar Odom.

Unfortunately, Marvin's coach thinks in unbelievably conventional terms when it comes to positions, and we can lay very very high odds that he will never play anything other than the 3.

He would also be a bit of a defensive liability against bigger 4s like Boozer. What about playing Marvin at the 2? Is he really too slow for that?

jrauch said...

Considering Marvin is the team's best perimeter defender and arguably the quickest guy on the team, I think he could slot into the two pretty easily. I see him as a Rip Hamilton type, only obviously much bigger, coming off screens for spot-up jumpers and backing down his smaller defender.

I don't think he can play the 2 in the iso-Joe offense, where you dribble the air out of the ball and heave up a 20 footer as the clock expires.
But his first two steps are pretty fast. When he wants to, he can get to the rack.