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Examining Marvin Williams role with the Hawks

When discussing the Atlanta Hawks, the topic of Marvin Williams always solicits much debate and very differing opinions. Today I want to examine Marvin’s play and try to explore just how important he is to the Hawks success or failures.

This past off season Marvin signed a contract extension with the Hawks for the next 4 seasons that also includes a players option for a 5th season. Marvin makes 7.5 million this year and that number actually drops next season to 6.7 before escalating back up. Its not a terrible contract and one that you would think wouldn’t be too terribly difficult to trade if was so desired.

Over Marvin’s last 5 games he is averaging:

  • 7.2 points per game
  • 6.4 rebounds
  • 16 for 36 shooting
  • 2 of 5 from deep

On the season Marvin is averaging:

  • 29.6 minutes
  • 10.2 points per game
  • 5.1 rebounds
  • .442 % shooting from the field
  • .344 % shooting from deep

Despite signing the extension over the summer Marvin has seen a reduction in his minutes and role this season. The addition of Jamal Crawford has kept Williams on the bench during many 4th quarters. Looking at the numbers Marvin is averaging about 3 points and 1 rebound a game less than last season while playing about 5 less minutes.

Early on this season it appeared that Marvin was searching for his role, he looked lost and confused. Still today he appears to be the forgotten man on offense and has only recently appeared to be looking for his shot more. Too often though Marvin is too passive on offense and just becomes a spot up shooter in the Hawks iso driven offense. However, Marvin has taken on the role of guarding the opposing teams best offensive wing. He appears after that early confusion to be figuring out what the team needs him to do which is rebound and play good solid defense.

To Marvin’s credit he has never complained. A lot of players that signed an extension like he did would scoff at taking a reduced role. Especially a player that has taken as much criticism as Marvin Williams. It would be easy for him to ask for more time or a more defined role in the offense or even a trade. To his credit he hasn’t done that. He comes in and tries to do his job and then leaves without anything said.

Still when I play with various trade simulators Marvin is always the first contract I pull up for the Hawks because I deem him the most expendable. Is he really that expendable? The defensive short comings of a lineup of Bibby, Crawford, and Johnson would mount with increased playing time. Starting Mo Evans in Marvin’s place would further weaken the bench. Any scenario that moves Josh Smith back to the 3 is just ludicrous in my opinion.

Fact is every good team out there has glue guys and right now that appears to be Marvin. We can look at the numbers all day and feel like this season has been a struggle for Marvin. I feel he probably has struggled but it is a direct result of less opportunities due to the advancement of Horford and Smith and the acquisition of Jamal Crawford. Give him those opportunities back and he is probably right around last years averages or slightly above his career averages. There in lies the problem because so much more is expected out of a #2 overall selection in the draft.

In the short term what the Hawks have is working. If you hypothetically traded Marvin for someone like a Caron Butler then it may or may not work as well. Butler would not accept the amount of shots that Marvin is taking and therefore would probably take away from Horford or Smith. You also could lose some on the defensive end. For me the uncertainties out weigh the certains in any potential trade of our key players.

What do you think about Marvin? Should the Hawks be shopping him at the deadline? Should Mike Woodson try and give him a bigger role? Or is everything alright like it is right now?

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