Heading into the 2011-2012 NBA shortened-season, the small forward position for the Atlanta Hawks — comprised of Marvin Williams, Vladimir Radmanovic and Jerry Stackhouse — was seemingly the weakest part of the team.
Well, it certainly ended the season that way.
The 3 role for the Hawks was doomed from the start, mainly because there were just too many initial questions that most of which would eventually end the season with the same answer — NO. (Would Marvin Williams finally break out and live up the potential of a #2 overall pick? … Is Vladimir Radmanovic going be the knock down shooter the Hawks need him to be? … Will Jerry Stackhouse produce off the bench? Does he still have anything left in the tank after 17 NBA seasons?)
Unfortunately, it was a disappointing season for the small forwards, and the Hawks organization overall.
Let’s start off with Marvin Williams…
Man, this guy gets me annoyed. I refer to Williams as “The X-Factor” because I really do believe he has the ability to affect the outcome of a game and has the potential to be a very good player, but let’s be honest, he’s been a bust since being selected second overall in 2005.
Atlanta actually chose Marvin ahead of Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum in that year’s draft — yeah…definitely a miss — but let’s not backtrack.
Williams averaged the least amount of points per game (10.2) than any other Hawks starter in 2011-2012 and had one of his worst seasons overall thus far in his seven-year career. He posted career-low’s in field goal percentage (.432) and free-throw’s attempted per contest (2.6).
Williams only attempted 8.2 field goals per game and converted 79 percent from the free-throw line while averaging 26 minutes of action per contest, his lowest marks since his rookie campaign. He started 37 games and came off the bench for 20 in this shortened season and became more of a perimeter-oriented player this year, attempting 2.6 trifectas per game (a career high) while draining 39 percent from downtown (also a career high).
His playoff totals however, weren’t any better than his regular-season averages. In the six post-season games Williams appeared in, he set marks of 7.8 ppg and 5.5 rebounds per game. He played 24.2 minutes per contest and struggled from inside the arc shooting 35.6 percent from the field overall and 77.8 from the charity-stripe. Williams did however shoot 50 percent from behind the arc in the playoffs.
Vlad Rad averaged a career-low 15.4 minutes per game this past season and saw his scoring output sink as well to a career worst, 4.5 points per game, because of the diminished game time.
Radmanovic had a solid role in the rotation before the All-Star break, appearing in 33 of 34 contests, however, back problems hindered the 6’10” Serbian in the second half of the season, and limited him to play in just 16 more games.
Radmanovic’s best game occurred early in the season on Saturday, Jan. 7 when Atlanta went on the road to play the Chicago Bulls. In the contest, he showed exactly why the Hawks signed him when he displayed his sweet stroke from behind the arc and shot a perfect 5-for-5 from downtown. Vlad missed his other two shots in the game though — probably because they weren’t from 25-ft out — but did make both of his free-throws for a total of 17 points, matching his season-high from when he dropped 17 on the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening game of the season.
Against the Bucks, Radmanovic was just as good, if not better, than his Jan. 7 outing in Chicago. He shot 55.6 percent (five-of-nine) from the field, including hitting three-of-five from long-range, and led the team in scoring (17) and assists (5) while pulling down three rebounds in a limited, 27 minutes of action.
After the first 10-game span, Radmanovic was averaging 7.7 ppg and 3.0 rpg in 20 minutes per game. The rest of the season however, didn’t go as well.
In the remaining 56-game stretch, his scoring output and minutes played shrunk pretty significantly to his season totals of 4.5 ppg and15.4 mpg — both of which are career-low marks for a season.
Vlad’s field goal percentage and rebounding numbers this season were his second-lowest marks since entering the NBA in 2001, but despite all the negative numbers, at least Radmanovic — whose career average from behind the arc is 38 percent — was consistent from lone-range shooting 37 percent from downtown with the Hawks.
According to Basketball Reference, out of the 197 field goal attempts Radmanovic had this season, 168 of them were jump shots and 138 of them were three point shots. (Stat credit to William Sevidal of Peachtree Hoops)
Atlanta signed Radmanovic for one reason — his outside shooting ability — in that regard, he didn’t disappoint. To have expected anything more from Rad-Vlad was foolish.
Stackhouse, the 17-year veteran, only played in 30 out of a possible 66 games during the season. He averaged 3.6 ppg and 0.8 rpg in 9.1 mpg while shooting 37 percent from the field and an impressive 91.3 percent from the foul-line.
Stack was mainly brought in for his leadership and to provide depth in the Hawks’ backcourt. He seemed to contribute in small amounts whenever he was called upon, but those times were few and far between.
It is unknown if Stackhouse will hang ‘em up or comeback for his 18th NBA season, but he might be the only current Hawk small forward I want returning.
He personifies professionalism and leadership, why not re-sign him?
The small forward’s, mostly Marvin Williams, really needed to step up this year — especially since all-star center Al Horford was injured less than a month into the season — but that didn’t happen.
Williams was the most disappointing player on the team and I think most fans would agree that perhaps it’s best if both sides went different ways after the 2012-2013 season — or trade him.
Radmanovic and Stackhouse didn’t provide the Hawks the depth strength they wanted at the position — but did we really expect that much from them?
Overall Position Grade: D