On the day the Knicks announced their 2010-2011 roster, the inclusion of Shawne Williams was notable mostly because of the name he displaced- Patrick Ewing Jr. Your fifteenth man is there to be a good cheerleader and locker room presence, and the son of a former Knicks great seemed much more likely to fit that description than Williams. After flopping in stints with the Pacers and Mavericks, Shawne- a former #17 overall pick- was seen as a non-factor.
- How, then, did we end up in a world where he was being asked to start at center against Dwight Howard?
Cynics might answer, “Because Mike D’Antoni doesn’t care about defense.” Others might respond, “No, it’s because the Knicks didn’t have a center.” The answer I’m interested in? That we ended up in that world because he wasn’t there to be a cheerleader, he was there to prove himself. Because, locker room presence be damned, he would fight Ball Wilker in a practice if that’s what it took to see some playing time. Because he was shooting lights out game after game after game. And because when given an opportunity, he grabbed it like a life vest and never let go.
- Williams’ was the perfect player for the pre-trade Knicks, a forward with good size who could knock down the open 3. His pre-All-Star-break 3P% of 47.5% was laughably good, the most unexpected of gifts from this player whom had barely made the roster. Unfortunately, this number would trail off after All-Star weekend (I wonder why? Maybe we could ask Landry). He would shoot only 33% from three-point land after the trade, losing his touch at a time when the team most needed him. Yet looking back, I fail to be bothered at this dip in performance. Could he have played better? Yes. His rebounding was suspect (7.2/40min). His defense wasn’t always great (often, albeit, against larger opponents.) I got the same feeling when he drove the lane that I get when Jared Jeffries takes a shot.
But what I keep remembering is that Shawne Extra E Williams was gritty. He would defend whatever position you wanted him to as best he could and scrap and claw for every inch. As Marvin Williams learned, he would stick up for himself even when a game was already decided. He was tough. He had a checkered past. He had to fight for everything he got. He kept pushing on through his struggles. What more could we ask for from a player selected to represent New York?
- Report Card (5 point scale):
Final Grade: B+