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Jazz forward Marvin Williams - and why I'm getting cautiously optimistic about him

First of all, this isn't the major Marvin Williams post. (I'm still writing that one) And second, this is not the 'compare Marvin to our other forwards' post. That is over here. What this post IS . . . is simply a post to get cautiously optimistic about Marvin Williams. We are optimistic about him, you know, because he's a new guy. We like what he can do. We like what we think he can do in our offense. And we like that he plays defense.

We also like that he passes on the fast break. But that's neither here nor there.

I'm primarily an analytical guy. But in the effort to improve internally (KOC is my GM too, you know), let me go out of my quantitative comfort zone and into the qualitative realm to talk about WHY I am getting cautiously optimistic about Marvin Williams.

His YouTube mixes are a great place to start . . .

Marvin is a real starter

The First thing that gets me cautiously optimistic is that he's, honest to goodness, an actual NBA starter right now. C.J. Miles was a bench player in a season long shooting slump. Josh Howard was trying to string out his faded abilities to try to con a contract out of some other team. DeMarre can start, and did, but fully well under the auspices that he was a defender first. He was not starting because he was actually one of the 5 best players on the team right now. And Raja Bell, well, I don't know what else to say.

Marvin is good enough to start. Talented enough to start. And has started in 379 of his career 487 games. He has been a regular season starter for 77.8% of his career. And that's not because he was starting on a bad team. This has all been with the Atlanta Hawks, and they have been a playoff team for the last 5 years in a row. Marvin was with the team for 7 years. So, yeah, he's been mainly a career starter on a playoff team - based upon talent.

The Jazz have started some strange guys at the #3 spot over the last few decades, from the hyper talented but criminally under used Andrei Kirilenko to the criminally under talented and over used Adam Keefe. If the Jazz wanted to start one of their Five most talented guys at small forward they have the option of doing so, as one of their five best players right now is Marvin Williams (Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Marvin are our RIGHT NOW Top 5 best players). Another is Gordon. And yet another is Millsap (if we go big).


Marvin is a real small forward

What is a real NBA small forward? A real NBA small forward is a guy who can score by slashing to the basket, hitting open jumpers, and get to the line. He's also a guy who can help out on the glass, and get steals and blocks. He's not as good a ball handler and outside shooter as a guard. But he's much quicker and more explosive than your real bigs. In today's NBA he has to be long.

This is pretty much a scouting report of what Marvin Williams is. In today's game he's the prototypical NBA small forward. I have all the numbers to support this statement, but this is the qualitative post, not the quantitative one.

He's not a displaced SG like CJ. He's not on the down side of his career like Josh. He's not a limited role player like DeMarre. He's not a one-sided shooter like Kyle Korver was. And he's not a Euro four being pushed out of his natural role for a jump shooting power forward like Andrei was.

For the first time in a long time we actually have a real small forward. And a real small forward who is good enough to start.


He's at his peak right now

He's not an old guy who is on the down side of his career. He's not a young guy who doesn't know the game and doesn't know how to do things at the NBA level yet. He's a 7 year NBA vet who has played in 14,822 regular season minutes (and another 1,002 in the playoffs). He has had a few injuries over his career and still has some of the lift and explosiveness that God gave him. But he also has the veteran wile to play at the NBA level against younger guys and be successful.

He's not going to be a guy who'll need minutes on the floor to get the jitters out (he's not a younger dude), and he's not going to need the minutes on the floor to get the rust off (he's not ancient). On a team that is getting increasingly young, his 'peak' mix of age and experience is going to help. He's only 26 years old (and 34 days), which is around the same mark as Millsap and Jefferson. Those three are all younger than our starting PG. And all three of those veteran forwards (Big Al really should have been a PF) are older than our C4. (Core Four: Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks)

Marvin doesn't need development. He's at the right age, between the diapers state, and far from the depends stage.


He is an upgrade:

This goes more into the math section, which is coming later this week, but he's an upgrade at the SF spot. Similar to how we recently looked at Devin and Mo, and concluded that not only was Mo better than Devin at threes (over all), he's also an upgrade from where PGs in our offense take threes from (You can read that post here), Marvin is an upgrade at the three. He's better at the things we need our threes to do than the guys who played this spot last year who look to be off the team. He's not as great at rebounding as Josh Howard over their entire careers, but over the last 6 seasons he is. (seen in RPG, RPG/36, and TRB%) He's not capable of scoring 40 points off of jumpers like CJ has, but over the last three years he's a much better three point MAKER (in seen in 3pt%). Let's not even talk about defense as it's a complicated thing. (All three dudes are better than the other two dudes at different things). Over all, though, in the things we need from our SFs, Marvin does it better. And this is an upgrade.


The Stats love him:

I did not lie, I'm not going to really bring stats into this. But, I need to say that one of his qualities is having good quantitative measurements. The data does not lie. Marvin is a good player.


The Re-Mixed Dick Motta Offense we run is still run for forwards:

I would not be surprised to see Marvin have a near career year here if he is healthy and has a good training camp. I love how he moves on offense without the ball. We have some guys on our team who love to pass (Hayward, and Millsap especially do in the half court). Marvin likes to pass too. Things could really work out well for him and the Jazz. Marvin cuts baseline, follows misses, and moves to open spots on the floor when the defense collapses in on a guy. We're not going to run our offense through him, but if we are being unselfish (this means you Al -- look at all the easy points the Hawks got because Al Horford used to pass to Marvin), I don't see why Marvin can't average 15+ ppg. after all, dude also gets to the line and is a career 80.6 ft% shooter. Ooops. That's a stat. And with that I'm done with this post.

Be sure to check out the stat filled post on Marvin later this week. And feel free to be cautiously optimistically with me about Marvin. You can always get at me here, in the comments section, on twitter (@AllThatAmar, @AllThatAmar2), or via E-mail: allthatamar at You know, if there's anyone who may want to get at me.