Marvin Williams has been driving me crazy. Every summer he works on a part of his game and every year he has shown noticeable improvement in that area. So when I heard ball handling was the subject of focus I got excited. Marv had already come a long way from his lobster clawed rookie year self, and above average handles would seriously improve his game. So did we get Marvin shooting seven free throws a game? Did we see Marv leading the break? Dribbling through traffic or pump and go? No. We got the rebirth of lobster claws. I feel like I was in a relationship where I put in now work and got cheated on. I didn't deserve any better, but it still hurts. It hurts bad.
Maybe it was my moderately high expectations, but it just seems like Marvin and his mustache have underperformed. But the stats are moderately surprising. He is creeping back toward his career average field goal percentage. At a career high shooting the three ball ( which actually means his TS% and eFG% are better than his averages). And playing better defense over the last few games. Marvin has slowly figured out how to assert himself without getting more shots.
Still, Marvin's role is not completely known. In a sense, we know who Joe Johnson is. There might not be a more defined role in the league. We understand Jamal Crawford will drill half court shots for four point plays some nights and only contribute to the other team's offense others. We have seen the front court dominate, but know what the team looks like when it becomes a jump shot happy team. Basically, the Hawks have seen the highs and lows of most every major contributor. We have even begun to get a clear idea of what encourages good Josh or Al or Joe and what makes them look like lost souls wandering in a wilderness of bad basketball.
What I mean is we don't know what we will get most nights, but we know what we want. Except with Marvin. He has underperformed until recently. But I don't mean it as an expectation thing. As in we don't know how to get Marvin 18 points a game. Instead, the Hawks have yet to figure out how to get Marvin to play great defense, rebound, and get to the free throw line when the Hawks are struggling with their shot. It is more subtle than more or less shots or attitude. But every player needs motivation, needs to be encouraged and brought back, and I believe the Marvin question is the big question of the next third of the season.
If the Hawks play well, they can play with any team. Getting a few points from the wing, rebounding, and solid defense? Well, that can bring a win against any team.