Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010-11 Season Preview: Marvin Williams

It would be far from the worst thing in the world were Marvin Williams to lead the 2010-11 Atlanta Hawks in minutes played. He's far and away the most qualified option to guard opposing small forwards and, even were it not for the good feelings regarding his involvement in Larry Drew's motion offense, Williams would be a good bet to bounce back from a thoroughly poor offensive season in 2009-10.

With Josh Smith and Al Horford already having established themselves as capable of playing at All-Star level for an entire season, Williams provides the best hope for an established player to improve his production. No one believes that Williams has yet tapped his full potential as an offensive player in five professional seasons but 2009-10 saw him at his most aimless and isolated offensively, resulting in a failure to match even the modest standards of production he'd established for himself.

The Hawks will be very fortunate if Smith, Horford, and Joe Johnson collectively match their production from last season. Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia have the potential to thrive in larger roles this season but it's Williams who figures to carry the burden of the making up for the likely declines of Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford as well as the organization's failure to address its long-standing defensive weaknesses. If Larry Drew appreciates Williams' unique (to this team) defensive skill set and coaxes greater offensive production from the still-young wing, Williams might yet make his contract (if not his draft position) seem reasonable.

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