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Former New York Knicks’ Forward Shawne Williams Ready for NBA Return

June 14th, 2013 at 1:00 PM
By Matt Agne

Shawne Williams is a basketball player with a lot of skills. He's also a man with a lot of demons. However, the former New York Knicks' forward seems to have regained his focus and is back in playing shape. Could he be an inexpensive addition to the Knicks' roster?

'New York Knicks' photo (c) 2009, Mike - license:

Shawne Williams is 27 year old from Laurinburg, North Carolina with the ability to play either forward position. He's 6'9", 230 pounds and was drafted 17th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. He played for Indiana from 2006-08, the Dallas Mavericks from 2008-10, the New York Knicks from 2010-11 and the New Jersey Nets from 2011-12.

The best season of Williams' five year NBA career came as a member of the Knicks. During the 2010-11 season he averaged 7.1 points, 0.8 blocks, 0.6 steals, 0.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game. He shot 40.1 percent from three-point territory, 42.6 percent from the field in total and 83.7 percent from the free throw line.

Williams can be a mismatch because of his height and wingspan. His size allows him to play either small forward or the face-up 4 power forward position. That's something Mike D'Antoni loved and something Mike Woodson could also take advantage of.

'Knicks Vs. New Jersey Nets 12/6/09' photo (c) 2009, Bari D - license:

Williams has a high release point, good elevation and a quick release which allows him to gets his shot off anywhere on the floor. He thrived as a stretch-four during his previous stint in New York and opened up the floor with his outside shooting.

Williams can finish at the rim with dunks and is quick off his feet to pull down rebounds. He's a pick and pop threat, a player that moves without the ball and a terrific passer.

Defensively, Williams is a bit of a tweener which allows him to guard both forward positions. While he may be able to get overpowered by bigger power forwards, he can hold his own against similarly sized forwards on the low block and his length makes him a dangerous cover on the perimeter.

He's not the most physical player and tends to shy away from contact. He only has average lateral quickness and doesn't have natural awareness on the defensive end of the floor. He's coachable but needs to be told to front of his man, fight through screens, and rotate on help defense. That being said, he was one of the better defenders the last time he was here. There's no reason Mike Woodson shouldn't be able to get solid play out of him on both sides of the floor.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reports Williams has worked hard to get himself back into playing shape and is available via free agency.

Shawne Williams looked great today. He's been working hard and he's in very good shape. His shot is still falling. He'll workout for teams.

However, Williams has his demons. He has a drug problem, mainly marijuana, but a problem never the less. Williams was arrested in September 2007 in Indianapolis, Indiana on a charge of possession of marijuana. In January 2010, Williams was arrested in Memphis on felony drug charges for selling a codeine substance. In April, Williams pled guilty to misdemeanor drug possession.

Many thought his once promising NBA career was over. However during the summer of 2010, Williams received training camp invitations from the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats. Williams' older brother, who had been murdered before Williams entered the NBA, last saw him play at the Madison Square Garden. For sentimental reasons, Williams chose to attend the Knicks' training camp.

He then played well for the Knicks, became a bit of a fan favorite and translated his play into a bigger payday with the New Jersey Nets. However, he see much time on the floor with the Nets and then he got in trouble again. In December 2012, he was arrested in Memphis when police officer found Williams in his parked Porsche with marijuana and a bottle of codeine cough syrup that was not prescribed to him.

Despite his poor choices with drugs, when Williams played for the Knicks he was a clean and productive player. He was focused and he was successful. Should the Knicks once again invite him to training camp? Williams could represent someone who is skilled at what the Knicks do, or at least try to do, with their schemes. He can shoot the deep ball, he can play both forward spots — which helps with small ball looks — and he can defend multiple positions.

Why not take a chance on him for the veteran's minimum? There's little doubt that he'll be focused knowing this will likely be his last shot in the NBA. It also doesn't hurt that he's familiar with the organization and has experience playing with Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. This could be a good chance for Glen Grunwald to get a talented player with the small amount of money at his disposal. 

Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Dallas Mavericks, Glen Grunwald, Indiana Pacers, Mike D'antoni, Mike Woodson, NBA, New Jersey Nets, New York, New York Knicks, Raymond Felton, Shawne Williams

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