Marvin Williams looks ready to soar with Hawks

Updated: August 1, 2006, 3:10 PM ET
By Tim Buckley | Special to ESPN.com

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- Been there. Done that. Can do it a whole lot better.

That's what Marvin Williams was thinking when he arrived more than a week ago at Salt Lake Community College for his second NBA summer league.

It also was the mindset he managed to maintain throughout a Rocky Mountain Revue that culminated Friday with him being named MVP of the six-team tourney that also included entries from Dallas, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Seattle and Utah.

Marvin Williams
Kent Horner/Getty ImagesAfter struggling last season, Marvin Williams is showing off his game's development.
"We spoke to him about not only coming here and playing, but coming here and dominating,'' said Hawks assistant Larry Drew, Atlanta's RMR coach. "He came in here knowing it wouldn't be satisfactory just to play OK. He had to come in here and really make a mark, and that's what he's done.''

Did he ever.

The No. 2 overall selection in the 2005 NBA draft averaged a Revue-high 23.2 points per game while shooting 54.9 percent from the field.

He scored just 16 in Atlanta's Revue finale Friday, an 82-81 win over Philadelphia -- but ended his strong summer showing by dishing a pass to teammate Shelden Williams for a game-winning dunk that perhaps most importantly ensured potential overtime would be avoided and no one would be late for their flights out of town.

Marvin Williams also added newfound dimension to his game, playing more with his back to the basket than during his rookie season out of the University of North Carolina. He's thinking a lot less, allowing his instincts to emerge and taking advantage of a decidedly explosive first step. As a result he played with extreme confidence, something that just wasn't present during his first pro summer league.

"I think 'comfortable' is the word,'' the approachable, affable Williams said. "You know, I feel so much more comfortable.

"It's a testament to coach [Mike] Woodson [Atlanta's head coach]. Coach Woodson pushed me every day in practice. I definitely have to thank him.''

Williams didn't make much of a mark during his first NBA season, averaging 8.5 points and 4.8 boards in 24.7 minutes per game for the low-flying Hawks.

But his scoring and rebounding numbers did improve every month from November through April, prompting Woodson to challenge Williams to take his game to an even-higher plane at the Revue.

"He told me coming into the summer league just to play,'' Williams said. "He was not going to put any restrictions on me.''

Critics say the result was someone with too much of a one-on-one mentality and too little discipline to his game.

Proponents, however, say Williams displayed just the sort of aggressiveness they wanted to see.

"He's really attacking the basket,'' said Drew, whose assertion is backed by the fact he averaged more than 13 free-throw attempts over five summer games. "He's not settling for jump shots. He's running the floor, catching the ball on the wing and he's looking to attack.

"Last year he shied away a little bit from contact early. But now he welcomes the contact going to the basket.''

The Hawks are not trying to immediately make Williams 'the man' in Atlanta.

At least not yet.

"Not at this stage,'' Drew said. "Down the road he may grow into that type player, but Joe has been our guy.''

"Joe,'' of course, is Joe Johnson, Atlanta's notable acquisition in 2005. And Williams more than welcomes his presence.

"Right now it's probably going to be Joe's team,'' he readily acknowledged. "You know, us young guys have so much to learn -- and Joe's been through the battles. ... He's been on a great team, playing with Phoenix. So I'm just trying to sit back and learn a little bit from him right now.''

Instead, then, Williams is central to a core of young players around whom the Hawks are trying to build.

Another is reserve guard Salim Stoudamire, who got plenty of play at the point and still managed to average 20.3 points in three games before exiting with a mild elbow sprain.

Sheldon Williams
Kent Horner/NBAE via Getty ImagesTop Hawks pick Shelden Williams finished the summer league session on a high note.
Then there is this year's first-round rookie, Shelden Williams, the former Duke power forward. The No. 5 overall pick of 2006 averaged 8.0 points, and looked somewhat overwhelmed at times.

"He's actually where Marvin was last year,'' Drew said.

Where Williams -- Marvin -- will be at this point next year remains to be seen. But suffice it to say the Hawks are happy with where he's headed.

"Last year was a big year for him as far as growth was concerned,'' Drew said. "We knew once he settled down and got comfortable with our system and got acclimated to the NBA style that his game would emerge. And last season, especially toward the tail end, he really started to come on.''

Which can only have him thinking about doing even better in the season ahead.

HONORS IN REVUE
Besides MVP Williams, a five-member Revue team was chosen via voting by selected media, scouts and summer-league staff.

The honorees: Philadelphia teammates Louis Williams and Steven Smith; Utah teammates Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap; and Seattle's Andre Emmett.

Louis Williams averaged 22.0 points per game, capped by Friday's game-high 27. He also averaged a Revue-leading 5.2 assists per game. But the 2005 second-round selection had one stat that really stood out, and it seems somewhat troubling: He committed a whopping 36 turnovers in six games, including eight in 39 minutes Friday.

Smith, undrafted out of LaSalle, averaged 15.7 points over six games and made scouts from at least one other NBA besides the 76ers take notice.

Brewer, the Jazz's 2006 first-round pick from the University of Arkansas, averaged 16.0 points on 56.3 percent shooting. The ex-Razorbacks star, however, hit just 4-of-12 Friday -- dropping his success rate from the field below 60 percent, and giving Revue-high shooting percentage honors to San Antonio free-agent forward Andre Brown (64.1 percent in five games). Brown, from DePaul, played last season in Korea.

Millsap, who led all NCAA Division 1 rebounders each of the past three seasons, lived up to his college billing by averaging 9.0 boards in six games. The rookie from Louisiana Tech also averaged 9.5 points per game, giving him a good shot at making the Jazz roster in the fall. But Millsap was overtaken for the Revue rebounding lead on Friday by Philadelphia free-agent forward Ivan McFarlin, an Oklahoma State product who played last season in France. McFarlin had 13 boards Friday, boosting his average to 9.7. No one besides those two averaged more than 6.3 rebounds per game.

Emmett averaged 12.5 points in six games and shot 57.7 percent from the field, second-best behind Brown. The ex-Texas Tech guard played eight games for Memphis during the 2004-05 season.

MISCELLANEOUS
San Antonio's Melvin Sanders, who played 16 games for the Spurs last season, had 27 points in a Revue-ending 86-79 win over Utah on Friday night. ... Mouhamed Saer Sene, Seattle's first-round draft choice from Senegal, returned for the Sonics on Friday after missing two games with a sprained ankle. The 7-foot center scored just five points, but blocked three more shots -- bringing his RMR average to a league-leading 3.75 swats per game in four outings. ... Another young Sonics center, roster-regular Robert Swift, had four blocks Friday, bringing his summer average to 3.67 over three games. ... Dallas got a game-high 23 points from roster-regular Rawle Marshall in its 91-87 win over the Sonics on Friday; Seattle got 22 from free agent Desmon Farmer, bringing the former Southern Cal guard's Revue scoring average to 11.0 points in six games. ... The Mavericks reportedly were impressed with a couple of their own free agents in particular: ex-Suns and Hornets forward Jackson Vroman, who averaged 7.2 points in six games; and undrafted George Washington product Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who averaged 8.2 points in five games. ... Vroman, the son of ex-Jazz big man Brett Vroman, had a strong summer despite shattering his wrist while playing last season for New Orleans/Oklahoma City. ... University of Illinois product Roger Powell Jr. earned an invite to the Jazz's fall camp with his Revue performance. There, he'll join ex-Illini teammates Deron Williams and Dee Brown. Williams, drafted No. 3 overall in 2005, looked good in Utah's first two Revue games, then went home as previously planned. Brown, a 2006 second-round selection, will get a shot to make the team in veteran's camp. ... Final Revue records: Philadelphia 4-2, Atlanta 3-3, Dallas 3-3, San Antonio 3-3, Utah 3-3, Seattle 2-4.

Tim Buckley covers the Utah Jazz for the Deseret Morning News.

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