Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed free agent forward Marvin Williams. With a reported two-year $14 million deal, Williams fills an immediate void left when Josh McRoberts decided to take his talents to South Beach.
“We’re excited to add a player of Marvin’s caliber to our team,” Cho said. “He will be a key piece of our frontcourt rotation with his versatility and ability to play both forward positions.”
If the play of the two former Indiana big men, Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh in Las Vegas is any indication, Williams will be anchoring that rotation to provide some stability to a position that had more questions than answers prior to his signing.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford views the 6-foot-9 Williams as a combo forward, but said his best position is at power forward. He also said that Zeller is improving, but that Vonleh is still raw and a couple years away from being a major contributor.
With the exception of McRoberts passing ability, Williams skill set compliments Clifford's offensive scheme in a very similar fashion. The recent signing of Lance Stephenson provides a second ball handler and distributor on the floor which means the Hornets believe they've found the perfect balance of passing and shooting with these two free agents.
"Marvin is a proven veteran player with high character and a high IQ," Clifford said of the nine-year NBA veteran. "You watch him play at both ends of the floor and everything he does makes sense. I think he will bring versatility."
Clifford said the Hornets were impressed with Williams' transformation into a 3-point weapon over the years and that is something All-NBA center Al Jefferson will require if he is to have the room he needs to operate on the low block.
Williams made a career-high 84 three-point field goals last season and his shooting percentage from beyond the arc (36%) was the second highest of his career. Williams brings the added benefit of having played with Jefferson for one season in Utah in 2012-13.
"Al is such a dominant presence in the post," Williams said. "I don't know if there is a center that can guard Al by himself. I think I can personally benefit, and help Al as well, by using spacing to knock down shots. If you put a lot of good shooting around Big Al you make it difficult for other teams to defend."
Williams who won a national championship with the North Carolina Tarheels in 2005 says he is happy to be back in the state playing for his new boss who also won a championship in 1982 for the same university.
"If you would have asked me nine years ago if I could have imagined playing back in North Carolina and Michael Jordan was going to be my boss, I would have said no, but today both of those things came true and I'm happy to be here," Williams said.
Since being drafted second overall in 2005 Williams has played in 626 games with Atlanta and Utah, averaging 10.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 29.1 minutes per game. He's a 44.7 percent career shooter from the field and 33.5 percent from 3-point range.