Five years into his NBA career, Marvin Williams has more than established himself in the league. The proof can be found in his numbers. For his career Williams has averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and started in 209 of the 284 games he's played since being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft.
For all that, both Williams and Hawks coach Mike Woodson are convinced that there's much more the starting small forward can do.
"Marvin's come in every year since his rookie year in great shape and he's really been consistent," Woodson said. "But he's the one guy over the next two years that I think can really make the jump to become more of an elite scorer, mostly because he can put the ball on the floor and draw fouls. He added the 3-point shot to his game last season and I think that pushed his game to another level. Now, he has to take another step."
Does that mean folks can expect to see a more aggressive and determined Williams this season?
"I think so," Williams said. "I've never been one to try and do too much. I've always felt like I know my role and I try to play the best I can. At the same time, I think this preseason I've tried to be more aggressive. And it's worked out.
"But it's really funny. Whenever we lose a piece during the season, it always seems like I'm the one that kind of steps into that spot. If I can figure out how to do that when we're at full strength, I think it will really help my team."
Williams has shown flashes of his scoring potential when the Hawks needed it most. Last season, with captain and All-Star Joe Johnson out sick for a two-game stretch in early February, Williams chimed in with two outstanding efforts in back-to-back road wins. He pounded Minnesota for 23 points and 10 rebounds in a 94-86 win Feb. 4 and hammered Charlotte with a game-high 29 points and seven rebounds in a 102-97 win two nights later.
"That was one of the turning points of our season," Johnson said. "I was back here [in Atlanta] and I remember watching those games and thinking to myself, 'We've got to get Marvin playing like this all the time.' If we do, we're even tougher to deal with."
Williams spent the summer pushing to rebound from the injury-plagued conclusion to his fourth season. A lower back injury forced him to miss the final 16 games of the regular season, interrupting his best season as a pro just a few weeks after the heroics in Minneapolis and Charlotte.
So he has worked to improve his overall game. Rather than identifying one area to improve year after year, Williams said he takes a comprehensive approach to skill building, something he picked up from his dad, Marvin Williams Sr., long ago.
"Growing up, my dad wanted me to be able to do everything," Williams said. "I still try and work on everything as much as I can. I think the guys that are most difficult to guard in this league are the guys that can do everything, as far as posting up, shooting the ball, handling the ball and really just scoring the ball.
"I worked hard on all aspects of my game this summer. That's why I'm so excited about this season. You want to see it all at work."
First cuts made
The Hawks made the first two cuts of training camp, releasing guards Frank Robinson and Aaron Miles before departing for Memphis after practice Tuesday for today's game against the Grizzlies.