Shawne Williams was one of those low-cost high-reward signings under the watch of Donnie Walsh. Williams who had missed the 2009-10 season after having drug problems did a nice job of working his way back into shape and earning a spot on the New York Knicks for the 2010-11 season. This off-season he had the chance to re-join the Knicks but instead chose to re-unite with Mike D'Antoni with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now Williams finds himself looking for a job as the Lakers have decided to waive him and make him a free agent.
Shawne Williams is 6'9", 225 pounds and has the ability to play shooting guard, small forward and power forward on the NBA level. When he came out of the University of Memphis many expected him to have a very nice NBA career. However, his love for marijuana and street life has led to a marginal career as a professional.
However, Williams has also shown that when he's focused he can be a very solid player off the bench. Not only can he shoot the ball from long range, Williams also has the ability to guard multiple positions on the defensive end. However, he now finds himself without a team.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports Williams was waived by the Lakers to avoid having to pay the remainder of his contract.
The Lakers would've had to guarantee Williams' contract for the rest of the season unless they released him on Tuesday.
Williams' release will open more opportunities in the frontcourt for rookie Ryan Kelly.
Williams, 27, signed as a free agent with the Lakers this summer. He averaged 5.2 points and 20.2 minutes a game for the Lakers.
Probably the most interesting part of the news is that not only was Williams not playing poorly for the Lakers but that he had actually started a third of their games this season.
Williams' numbers don't exactly jump out at you. Especially not for a starter. However, if you look beyond his 5.2 points, 0.8 blocks, 0.5 steals, 0.9 assists and 4.5 points over 20.2 minutes you'll see a guy who offers a team a lot of versatility and options.
You'll also find a guy who nearly projects to a double-double player per 36 minutes. Per 36 minutes, Williams projects to average 9.2 points, 1.5 blocks, 0.8 steals, 1.6 assists and 8.0 rebounds a night.
This is also a player who can be deadly from behind the three-point arc. This season he's shooting 32.7 percent from behind the arc but in the 2010-11 season with the Knicks he shot 40.1 percent from long range.
Now, is Williams a player the Knicks just have to sign? No. Is he a guy who would make or break your season? No. However, he's a productive bench player who would certainly be an upgrade to someone like Metta World Peace. He'd also be someone the Knicks should keep in mind if they were to make a trade and have a roster spot open up.
It will be interesting to see where Williams may end up. There simply may not be a place for him with the Knicks this season. However, he was once productive here and it would be nice to see him land on his feet. Hopefully things work out for him and he can avoid the pitfalls that have held him back off the court.
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