Position: Power Forward
Height: 6′ 9″
Weight: 237 pounds
Reasons for Optimism:
Despite not converting on as many threes as he’d have liked, Marvin Williams found ways to make his mark on the ’16-’17 Hornets. He grabbed a career high in rebounds, continued his solid defensive play, and discovered new ways to score the basketball. Even with his erratic shooting numbers, teams still respected his ability to spread the court. With that, came hard closeouts and Marvin — being the smart player he is — attacked them with confidence. We saw more driving layups, floaters, and dunks out of Marvin because of his aforementioned scouting report. He’s not afraid to adjust his approach when things aren’t going his way.
Charlotte acquired two players, Howard and Monk, this offseason that should have a positive effect on Williams. Both create a gravity, albeit in different ways, that will create open lanes for Williams to navigate. Defenses will now have to weigh the options when defending Howard in the restricted area or Monk coming off screens. If Marvin’s man ever has to help-off of him, I’m confident he will make the most of it. He’ll have more uncontested attempts — converted on 38% of wide-open three-point field goals — and more opportunities in attacking closeouts — where he found success last season. It’s not hard to buy stock in Williams for the ’17-’18 campaign.
Reasons for Pessimism:
Marvin Williams is coming off a down year shooting from deep. It wasn’t realistic for him to shoot north of 40%, like he did in the ’15-’16 season, but the lack of consistency was a downer. It never felt like Marv ever got into a groove from behind the arc and he didn’t leave the impression most fans expected. Marvin’s monthly three-point shooting numbers ranged anywhere from 27% to 40%. This was much different from his previous season where he shot above the 40% clip in every month besides December and his two games in October.
It should also be noted that there was a significant dip in his corner threes last season. He shot 31% in right corner and 42% in the left corner — compare this to 46% (-15%) and 44% (-2%), respectively, from ’15-’16. With Dwight Howard, it’s not unreasonable to think that he will be shooting more from the corner and less from the top as a trailer. He must improve in this area of his game.
For Marvin to make an impact, as he enters his 13th season, he needs to return to his ’15-’16 ways. With the league shifting to more 4-out — and even 5-out — systems, the power forward position must be able to stretch the defense. With Howard offering no spacing, Williams can’t afford to have another up-and-down season from downtown.
Number to Know:
There wasn’t any one stat that the stood out on Marvin’s profile, so I chose to highlight the number of years left on Marvin’s contract. He signed a 4 year, $54 million contract in 2016. By signing Marvin with his Early Bird rights, the Hornets knew that they were conceding years in favor of a more favorable yearly salary. Williams will be 33 when his contract expires and for him to live up to this “lengthy” contract, Williams will need to continue to produce on a consistent basis. Although some fans may never be able to justify the salary that was handed out to Williams last offseason.
At the age of 31, Williams is inching closer to the conclusion of his career. Having said that, he’s still one of the most trusted players on this roster because he’s a consummate competitor. He’s never going to lead this team in scoring or be the focal point of the offense, but you can count on him to leave it all on the court and influence the game in any way he can.
If you had to pick a player on Charlotte’s roster to have a bounce-back season, Marvin would be very tempting. Marvin, even at his age, has shown that he’s always trying to improve as a teammate and player. He’s an established player but can adjust his style so it best benefits the Hornets.
I’m expecting similar numbers out of Williams as last season but greater efficiency. I’m not ready to hand over any reigns to Kamisnky as our primary stretch-four.