Marvin Williams – The Man Behind The Mask

Photo: Melissa MajchrzakPhoto: Melissa Majchrzak

Marvin Williams was the second overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul. While Williams’ career to this point hasn’t mirrored the success of some of his fellow draftmates he’s still been a very good NBA player. This season Williams is having a very productive year, and he’s making a huge impact on the Utah Jazz.

Williams was a standout at North Carolina, and during his lone year playing for the Tar Heels, he was an integral part of the team that beat Illinois for the national championship. Williams gave such a standout performance in the title game that the Atlanta Hawks decided to select him second overall – and for a while, Williams contributed at a very high level for the Hawks. From 2006-2009, he averaged at least 13.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. While Williams wasn’t the franchise-changer Atlanta expected him to be, Williams did show that he’s the kind of player every teams needs.

When the Jazz have started Williams, Utah has gone 5-3. Only one win has come without Williams in the starting lineup, and that was against the New Orleans Pelicans in Salt Lake City on November 13th. Williams has been a big part of Utah’s success this season, but how is a veteran NBA player in his eighth season having such an effect on Utah?

Williams is averaging 10.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this season for Utah, but his impact on the team goes beyond the stats. Every team that has been successful in years past has had a player that plays the role Williams has currently embraced for the Jazz.

“My job is to go out there night after night and give it my all,” Williams said. “Everyone has a role on this team and I’ll do whatever [the team] needs me to do.”

Williams is more than willing to come out and do the dirty work that needs to be done in order to win basketball games, like setting screens, diving for loose balls, and making every minute he’s on the court count in a positive way. While a lot of veterans in a contract year, as Williams is this year, would probably take a more selfish approach to basketball, Williams is playing team basketball. If he wanted, Williams could probably average around 15 points a game, and when the offseason rolls around, that would translate into him getting a larger contract.

But Williams is content playing his role for Utah, and doesn’t seem to have much of an interest in playing with only one more big contract in mind. Sure, Williams is averaging a career-high 46.7% from the three-point line, but that mark is secondary to the fact that Williams is helping the Jazz win in an efficient manner.

Efficiency is a big key to being an effective player, and Williams has been very efficient this season. Williams averages 10.3 points on 8.4 attempts per game, which shows that he’s taking smart shots, and making a good percentage of them. Nearly half of those field goal attempts are three’s, as Williams averages 4.3 trey attempts per game. For a team that has been hurting in regards to perimeter scoring, Williams has been able to provide a significant boost.  Now, something that a lot of fans don’t know about Williams but I feel attributes greatly to his success as a smart, efficient player is this – Williams is still going to school, taking the classes necessary to complete the degree he didn’t finish after he left North Carolina in 2005. This is impressive to me, because it shows that Williams knows some things in life are more important than basketball. Having that outside focus helps Williams keep basketball in perspective, and I feel as if that’s a big part of why he’s been able to have such great success this season for the Jazz.

The last nugget of greatness from Williams that I’d like to point out is this – he’s a great mentor to the young guys on the Jazz this season. Trey Burke, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks can all learn a lot from Williams’ example as a consummate pro. Having veterans on a team like Utah’s is very integral to the development of the raw talent on the Jazz’s roster. It’s hard to learn the NBA game without experienced veterans, and Williams fits that role for the Jazz.

Hopefully, Williams can keep up his stellar play and continue to help Utah this season.

Spencer is an avid sports fan and fisherman. He’s a lover of classic rock and Sundays filled with football. You can find him on Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant
Posted in Featured Writers