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Hawks' Roster Analysis - Small Forward

Introduction: Here is the dilemma for Coach Mike Woodson: Marvin Williams has been penciled in as a starter at the “3” spot for a couple of years, but does Williams have the talent to start at small forward?

Marvin Williams: In all honesty, I think Williams can be a productive and impactful NBA player, but he should not be starting. I see his role as an offensive force coming off the bench. Because of his size, he presents match up problems for other teams, but he is reluctant to post up. From what I have been able to read about this preseason, Williams’ focus has been on shooting better from 3 point range. He seems to want to be strictly a perimeter jump shooter. He cannot beat regular small forwards off the dribble, but he could face and beat power forwards. His defense at the position is below average. The thumb injury might be an excuse for Coach Woodson to bring Williams off the bench. If the Hawks could then get off to a hot start, Woodson could stick with that rotation and Williams would have to accept his role as an offensive spark. He could flourish as the second scoring option on the second unit

Maurice Evans: I briefly broke down Evans in my shooting guard post, but he is clearly a “3” man. Evans should start for the Hawks. The smaller and quicker line up is a way to start the game with more energy. Evans is a tough defender that can guard Turkoglu, Pierce, and all. He is a better outside shooter than Williams. He will not penetrate very often, but he stretches the floor. I probably would argue that Evans is a better passer and quicker in the transition game than Williams.

Josh Smith: I talk about Smith more in my front court analysis, but he has the physical tools to be a dominant type small forward. If he would take time to work on his ball skills, he could play on the perimeter. I have read where he has worked on his shooting and his strength in the off season. That is great, but he needs to learn to be a better ball-handler and passer. He would be a match up nightmare for opposing teams.

Prediction: Defining the roles for Williams and Evans is critical for Coach Woodson. The other positions seem to be falling into place. Bibby, Joe, Horford, and Smith are going to start. What Coach does with that “3” spot is going to be interesting to watch. Depending on who starts or not, Evans and Williams could be a 6th Man of the Year award candidates. I think Williams can flourish off the bench, but he probably does not want to do that in a contract year. Can the Hawks trade Williams to Olympiakos for Childress? You could start Evans and bring Childress off the bench. Wow, that scenario sounds about perfect.


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