Even after the departure of LeBron James, the Miami Heat still plan on playing mostly small ball lineups. That much is obvious, given that the team is still without a traditional center and seems content playing a starting lineup with Josh McRoberts and Chris Bosh in the front court.
In the past, typical perimeter players like Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis who could play as a stretch-4 were necessary for Miami to play small. With Battier retiring and Lewis gone in free agency, the Heat needed to add another swingman. On Friday, the team announced the signing of Shawn Williams.
Williams, 28, played in the NBA just three of the last five seasons. He appeared in 36 games for the Los Angeles Lakers last year, earning 13 starts.
In stints with the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Lakers, Williams has averaged 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game for his career. Adjusted for 36 minutes, Williams averaged a respectable 9.7 points and eight rebounds per game last season.
On November 29 against the Detroit Pistons, Williams went off for 20 and nine while dishing out three assists and getting two steals.
So that’s some background.
But how will the Heat use him? Let’s first look at the depth chart.
PG: Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Shabazz Napier
SG: Dwyane Wade, James Ennis
SF: Luol Deng, Danny Granger, Shawne Williams
PF: Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem, Justin Hamilton
C: Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen
Williams will scrap for minutes behind and oft-injured Danny Granger and a young James Ennis. If Granger can’t go one night, or if Ennis seems out of sorts, Williams could see some playing time. He doesn’t figure to be a key player in the rotation, but a veteran at the end of the bench who can certainly help at times.
Williams shot a horrid 38 percent from the floor last season, but shot particularly well from the left corner (via NylonCalculus.com).
He is a fine defender and good defensive rebounder, so playing him at the 4 seems more reasonable than at the 3–a position Miami will be looking for scoring from. Playing powerforward also puts him in better position to sneak out to his sweet spot in the corner.
When in, Williams will likely see time next to Bosh or Haslem in the front court as a stretch-4.