Marvin Williams’ Leadership Has Led the Charlotte Hornets to Success

Apr 25, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) reacts after a score in the second half against the Miami Heat in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets defeated the Heat 89-85. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) reacts after a score in the second half against the Miami Heat in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets defeated the Heat 89-85. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /
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After a down year in his first season with the Charlotte Hornets, Marvin Williams became the leader of the team this past season and helped lead them to success.

Many thought the Marvin Williams’ experiment in Charlotte was a bust and that the team should move on after the 2014-2015 season. But something changed heading into the 2016 season and he became a leader on the team by leading by example and becoming a vocal leader. The success of this past year can largely be attributed to Marvin.

Over the past few seasons, the Charlotte Hornets were a team without leadership and that led to struggles on and off of the court. They had young players and some veterans but no one that had leadership skills to rally the squad. Marvin became that person this past season as he took it upon himself to bring the team together and push them to only their third playoff appearance since 2004.

It was clear that the 6’9 small forward was poised for a breakout season this past year with the amount of work and time that he put into last summer. During the 2015 offseason, Marvin worked tirelessly as he tried to reinvent his game to fit the team’s style. It was clear that he improved on not only his outside shooting but also his defensive prowess and rebounding.

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Head Coach, Steve Clifford, called Marvin the “quarterback” of the Hornets’ defense this past season. And that was clear with his play but also when you watched the team’s games. The rest of the players on the court listened to Williams as he directed traffic on the defensive end. Being one of the most experienced players on the roster, he took it upon himself to bring the Hornets’ defense together as one of the top-10 defenses in the NBA.

At 29-years old, Williams had one of the best seasons of his career as he reinvented his game. He averaged 11.7 points per game (4th best of his career), career high 6.4 rebounds per game, and a team-high 1.0 blocks per game this past season. He also shot a remarkable 45.2% from the field, a career high 40.2% from the three-point line, and 83.3% from the free throw line.

Even after a horrible stretch by Marvin in the team’s first round playoff series against the Miami Heat, Steve Clifford continued to praise Williams for his intangibles and work on the defensive end.

“Marvin’s defense [in Games 3 and 4] has been unbelievable. Not just his individual defense [but also] his team defense and team rebounding [has been great]. One of the reasons he’s not scoring is because he’s playing the [small forward position]. He played a terrific game. I don’t care if he scored or not.”

That quote can almost sum up Williams’ season with Charlotte this past year, he had a major impact without scoring. Even though Marvin didn’t have many bad games and was usually pretty efficient, he was only fifth leading scorer on the team. If you looked at the stat sheet, you wouldn’t think that he had a big night but if you watched the game, you could see that his fingerprints were all over the place on the defensive end of the court.

For most of his career, Marvin Williams may have been viewed as a bust after being drafted second overall in the 2005 NBA Draft but he has finally found his niche in the league and a home in Charlotte. That was evident this summer when he re-signed with the Hornets on a team friendly contract (four-year, $54.5 million) that was worth less that he would’ve gotten on the open market with another NBA team.

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After helping build success in Charlotte this past season, Marvin Williams will need to sustain the success with the Hornets. He will need to continue his stellar play as well as his leadership on and off the court. The unsung hero of the team deserved the contract he received this offseason but he will need to push them back into the postseason if this year can be considered a success.