Is Marvin Williams’ Season Out of the Ordinary for His Career?

March 19th, 2014 | by David J Smith
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

As the Utah Jazz broadcasts begin, the starters introduce themselves. I imagine that many out there did not predict seeing Marvin Williams and Richard “NBA University of Arizona” being permanent members of the opening five. But with 14 games remaining, they have both been there most the season. And both have had their moments where they have played quite well.

Marvin Williams, especially, has been lauded by Jazz coaches and fans. He is one who occasionally shows some much-needed emotion for the team. His veteran presence and his positive attitude have been refreshing. His willingness to play power forward–often giving up some definite size to his opponents–has been great.

While there is much to be pleased about, is the on-court season Williams is having anything out of the ordinary for his career? I hate to temper the enthusiasm, but for the most part, the answer is no. Let’s take a look.

Williams’ first season in Utah was easily the least productive of his career. With an offense understandably centered around Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap and capable role players in Gordon Hayward, Mo Williams and Randy Foye, Williams was often the last option on the floor. His numbers are evidence of that.

This year, head coach Tyrone Corbin is using him in a very different role– a full-time stretch four (Williams has played very little at the small forward position, which is where the vast majority of his minutes came during the 2012-2013 campaign). There are also more opportunities, seeing as Jefferson, Millsap, Williams and Foye are toiling elsewhere.

Here are his raw statistics, along with his career numbers, with the help of Basketball Reference:

MP

FG%

FGA

3P%

3PA

FT%

FTA

RBD

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

13-14

25.6

.441

8.2

.377

3.6

.797

1.1

5.1

1.2

0.8

0.5

0.9

2.3

9.5

Career

29.2

.447

8.7

.338

1.7

.805

3.1

5.1

1.3

0.8

0.5

1.1

2.2

10.8

Here are his numbers per 36 minutes:

FGA

3PA

FTA

RBD

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

13-14

11.5

5.1

1.6

7.2

1.7

1.1

0.7

1.2

3.3

13.4

Career

10.8

2.1

3.8

6.3

1.6

0.9

0.6

1.4

2.7

13.4

As you can see, his numbers are eerily similar to his overall NBA marks. Williams is flourishing on his 3-point shooting–the second-best mark of his career while attempting a lot more. With his move inside, he is rebounding the ball above his career norms/36 minutes. But in everything else, Williams is right at (or even below) his career averages. His free throw attempts are by far the lowest of his career.

And lastly, for those analytics aficionados (which may or may not include some certain broadcasters), here are Williams’ ¬†advanced stats:

PER

TS%

eFG%

FTr

3PAr

TRB%

AST%

STL%

BLK%

TOV%

USG%

WS/48

13-14

14.5

.547

.525

.140

.445

11.5

8.0

1.6

1.6

9.0

17.0

.092

Career

13.6

.538

.479

.353

.190

10.3

7.2

1.4

1.2

10.0

17.7

.098

The advanced stats are a bit more favorable, with his PER being a bit above his career-average (third best of his career)–but below the overall NBA average. His eFG% is by far the best of his nine seasons, thanks to his perimeter marksmanship. Williams is rebounding the ball well. His 3-Point Attempt Rate is dramatically higher, while his Free Throw Rate is appallingly low–both byproducts of his role change. Everything else is pretty much status quo.

All in all, he’s having a nice season–but not an exceptional one. While Marvin Williams has been a bright spot for many, he is playing at a similar level seen during his years with the Atlanta Hawks

An unrestricted free agent in July, he has expressed a sincere interest in returning to Utah. His play merits a return, as he is a solid role player. My preference would be to see him be a spark off the bench, playing both forward positions.

David J Smith

David J Smith

Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
David J Smith
David J Smith

Latest posts by David J Smith (see all)

  • How Important is Passing?
    Utah Jazz
    1
    July 24th, 2014

    How Important is Passing?

    Being that most of you are all supporters of the former team of the NBA all-time assists leader and one of the greatest passers...Read More

4 Comments

  1. To be shooting a career best 38% from three in that specific role as a stretch 4 has more merit than you’re allowing. It’s far above his career average of .338. Remember, that the unwritten rule of good three-shooting is 35% from the arc — the difference between a defensive reaction in a desire keep a shooter honest or not.

    It’s what make the stretch shooter valuable, that role.

    And despite the stretch role, Marvin is still having a career year in rebounding percent, and for a much of the season had a higher DReb% than Enes Kanter.

    He’s also having a career year in effective Field Goal percent, by quite a lot, .525 compared to .479. Almost across the board he’s been a better player than career averages in this new role as a stretch 4.

    However one chooses to interpret the data, in this specific role there’s little doubt that Marvin Williams is the most effective as an NBA player in this role than he ever has been before in his career, for the first time showing he’s an actual threat to opposing defenses.

    • casey says:

      MArvin gets props for shooting better from down town this season, but him going to the line less frequently results in him being only slightly more efficient this year than in his career (look at how close TS% is). I think we’re just so impressed w/ Marvin this year b/c he was so awful last year….. If he came back on a 2/8 million dollar deal, I’d be ok w/ it.

      • robin says:

        At this stage we;re seeing the best case scenario Williams, and I don;t think it merits more than 15-20 minutes a game, especially if the next coach takes advantage of our assets and develops a running game (Williams is slow and can;t finish). Below average players, and he tops out at league average, don’t help your team. While his floor spacing is great, that’s about all the offense he has these days, and while his rebounding numbers have improved, they still aren’t great. But 2/8 million, yeah ok.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      I agree, Clint. His individual stats fail to account for his entire value in this role. Just contrast the offense with him as a stretch four to the two-big lineups throughout the year. The team is 5.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor. He’s the only starter on the team who can claim positive points in that assessment. So while his individual statistical performance may not be drastically different across the board, it is substantially better in the specific ways the team most needs. That makes the improved performance far more valuable.

Leave a Reply