Written By Rick Bonnell at Charlotte Observer.com
Nic Batum is the Charlotte Hornets’ most versatile player. Kemba Walker is the Hornets’ most spectacular player.
But if you graded this Hornets team 1 through 15 on a consistency scale, everyone else would line up behind Marvin Williams.
From the start of training camp, Williams was the player in the best shape. He was a rock throughout the Hornets’ 48-34 regular season, which made it all the stranger that he more resembled a pebble in the first two games of the playoff series against the Miami Heat.
Williams, a 10-season veteran NBA forward, made just one of his 17 shot attempts in Games 1 and 2 in Miami. So coach Steve Clifford met with Williams before Game 3 Saturday in Charlotte, to make sure Williams’ head was in the right place.
Clifford left that meeting knowing there was nothing to worry about. Williams said he was on top of things, reminding Clifford that his first responsibility was to be the anchor of the Hornets’ defense.
Clifford moved Williams to small forward Saturday and started rookie Frank Kaminsky at power forward in the absence of the injured Batum. Williams broke free from his recent slump, making five of nine shots from the field and finishing with 12 points and 14 rebounds. The Hornets beat the Heat 96-80 for the franchise’s first playoff victory since the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004.
Williams said he was never worried about his shot, pointing out that if his two bad games were in, say, March rather than the playoffs, they wouldn’t have drawn so much attention.
I probably know Williams as well as any Hornet. He’s stoic and steady in a way that allows teammates to lean on him for advice. He practices a quiet form of leadership, because he’s so respected for his professionalism.
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