Saturday, October 29, 2011

2010-11 Season Review: Marvin Williams

There are, I suspect, few remaining believers in Marvin Williams. It appears unlikely that he will develop into a deadly spot-up shooter with three-point range, nor a reliable finisher in transition, nor a dangerous threat in the post who utilizes his size advantage over many small forwards. Last season, whether through injury, further erosion in confidence or both, Williams even regressed defensively. Late in the season, once the Hawks had Jason Collins and Kirk Hinrich and Damien Wilkins all on the roster, there rarely was a compelling reason to play Williams other than his decent-to-good rebounding rate, one far superior to any of the alternatives.

Perhaps back surgery and a late start to the season will make Williams more physically capable than he appeared much of last season. Perhaps Jeff Teague's performance against the Bulls in the playoffs* combined with the (likely) lack of depth will push Williams into a defined role as a leader of the second unit, a role where expectations might better match his capabilities. Then again, depending on how elastic** an amnesty clause the new CBA contains, Williams and the Hawks may be able to part ways before the new season begins. It might be best for both parties.

*It is in the playoffs where Williams' performance becomes indefensible, where it degrades from disappointingly average (but useful) to inarguably poor.

**The more elastic an amnesty clause, the chance that the Hawks use it to get out from under Joe Johnson's contracts increases. Not a lot, but some.

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