After about three weeks of not going crazy about this, I've started to go a little crazy about Marvin Williams. He may not be the perfect 'hand in glove' fit for our team, or for catering to Big Al Jefferson 's capabilities. But the more I research him the more and more I seem to be falling in love with what he could be. We first mentioned the Devin Harris - Marvin Williams trade here. We did a quick poll of what we thought of the trade here. I crunched the numbers of him vs. Andrei Kirilenko, Josh Howard, and C.J. Miles in this big post here. Started to get 'Cautiously Optimistic' about him here. And then shortly after got on the bandwagon here.
Of course, all of this is based upon a few hours of research, and a maximum of 30 games of his actually watched. I'm clearly far from objective about this because I haven't seen enough of him. You know someone who has? Jason Walker, the main man at the SBN Atlanta Hawks site Peachtree Hoops has. And this is what he had to say about Marvin.
Jason Walker's take on who Marvin is:
Marvin Williams was always about what he wasn't for Atlanta rather than what he was.
He wasn't Chris Paul or Deron Williams, that was #1.
He wasn't the uber-athlete that was going to be instant offense, that was #2.
He wasn't going to produce near what the Hawks though when they made him the #2 pick in the 2005 draft, that was #3.
Marvin Williams struggled to find his place in the NBA and you could make the point that, at times, he is still searching. One season, like the one he had in 2008-2009, you feel he's got it. Marvin added the three point shot to his arsenal, raised all of his advanced statistics and became an important part of the Hawks rotation. After returning from an injury, missing over a dozen games, he was so missed that his return inspired a standing ovation from the Philips Arena crowd. This was his Age 22 season and things looked good.
That offseason, Marvin signed a 5 year, 37 million dollar contract as a restricted free agent without an offer from another team. Given his age and his improvement, it seemed a fair price for a rotational piece of a team, at that time, rising up the standings.
Since then, Marvin has fallen back into an inconsistent producer, sometimes providing exactly what the Hawks needed from him and sometimes looking like that rookie who wasn't sure when he should attack or when to pull up. Neither Larry Drew nor the fans seemed to be united on whether Marvin should be starting or that playing with the second unit would suit him and/or the team best.
After that Age 22 season, Marvin struggled to get back to even that level over the next three season, coming closest last season. In between the team tried to deal him at every moment, almost immediately understanding that he wasn't moving forward as they had hoped after the '08-'09 campaign.
Marvin himself is a thoughtful individual who has taken his ups and downs in stride. He never caused public trouble on the team and never groused about his role (or lack of one) to the media. He knows the magic behind solving the Rubik's Cube. He's a good guy who likely needed this change to Salt Lake City to get out from under who he wasn't and just be about who he is, whoever that may be.
Thanks again Jason! Jazz fans, you may be interested to know that I did a short little thing for his site where I answer some of his questions about Devin Harris. You can check that out over here. If you have any questions for either of us, and please, we encourage questions, write them down in the comments section and we'll be more than happy to do a "round 2" of Devin and Marvin! And of course, you can always reach us on twitter:
Woo! This is going to be a really exciting year for Mavin and the Jazz. Hopefully we can finally move on beyond who he is not, and flourish into who he is. This would not be the first time that has happened to a high draft pick. And this type of veteran metamorphosis is not unheard of.