You know.. just that ENTIRE article is amazing, I'm really rooting for Shawne Williams to make this team and focus on defense like he's being asked. The fact that only Pau has a longer wingspan than him(and Pau is 7'2) and it's only one and half an inch wingspan advantage which says a lot as Williams is a guy that will fight for rebounds and switch to quicker guards on defense as well as not be afraid to go for blocks.
He is very much like Jordan Hill in terms of he can hustle but he can also shoot the three and both will try on the defensive end. he is also capable of finishing games.
So I really am excited to see what he can bring.
One of the most important things was this
A couple of months after the Lakers flamed out of the playoffs at the hands of a first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs, D'Antoni urged Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss to invite Williams to L.A. for a workout.
"You need guys that you can trust and you don't have to worry about and you know he's going to be there every day and he's going to be one of those guys," D’Antoni said.
Williams knew that he's a tough sell on paper and appreciated his old coach sticking his neck out for him.
"It was a hard process," Williams said. "Just telling the truth, coming in, I have a lot of little baggage. So, it was just kind of a tough process. But when you have people in your corner ... I look at the NBA like family, and family got to look out for each other and keep everything going."
D'Antoni put Williams on the Lakers' radar, but he wasn't just going to be given a No. 3 purple-and-gold uniform and told to start launching away from the outside. He had to earn it.
"I talked to Mike and I talked to Mitch and they gave me some goals to reach before I get to training camp, which was weight-wise, getting my weight down and stuff," Williams said. "I told them I can do it and they told me they'd give me a shot."
'A pro's pro'
D'Antoni said Williams looks as if he has lost 25 pounds since he first saw him work out this summer. Williams set the record straight, saying he weighed in at 250 pounds in his first official workout with the team, 246 in the second and 237.6 at the start of training camp. He was listed at 230 pounds when he played for the Knicks.
Williams gives all the credit to the program the Lakers' trainers formulated for him, calling it "one of the best staffs I've done seen."
Rather, it has been a steady process and DiFrancesco has already seen the weight room work translate into on-court success.
"He'd get a breakaway and there were a couple instances where he had a hard time finishing," DiFrancesco said. "A guy would catch up to him, even though he was ahead of the pack to start or, he would catch up to him and give him a little bit of legal contact and he would really lose his balance and not be able to take a hit and still finish. For his position, being able to get ahead of the pack and get to a spot where he can catch and shoot, that wasn't happening as much in the beginning. Then I started to see, he's absorbing contact, going through contact now. He's finishing certain plays. He's getting shots that he wasn't even getting 4-5 weeks ago because he's getting to his spots more efficiently, more effectively. The one thing we know for sure with Shawne that if he gets to his spot, he's going to hit his shot, probably.
"So those are the things that I kind of look for and can see the tangible, face-to-face, real progress."
Not to mention, shooters rely on confidence and nothing breeds confidence like looking good.
"When you start to drop non-functional, useless fat mass and you start to replace it with some functional, powerful, bullet-proof lean mass," DiFrancesco said, "you walk out onto this court like, 'Here we go! I'm feeling good!' "
While the Lakers could certainly use a consistent outside stroke like Williams' this season -- L.A. ranked 19th in team 3-point percentage last season -- D'Antoni says he thinks Williams brings more to the table than just shooting.
"One thing that's overlooked, the guy's 6-9," D'Antoni said. "His wingspan, the only guy with a greater wingspan than him is Pau and it's only by an inch and a half, and Pau's 7-2. Compare him to like Jordan Hill, for example, he has a two-inch (longer) wingspan and that's very important."
It's important because Williams' length can lead to deflections, steals, blocks and rebounds on defense, which is a category the Lakers have to improve on as a team even more than they do on their accuracy from beyond the arc. It's fitting, too, because Williams says D'Antoni is different than the guy he was with in New York.
"I've done noticed some stuff about Mike too a little bit," Williams said. "It seems like he's harping a little bit more on defense now. He's spending more time on defense. It used to just be a lot of offense and he used to try to tell us, 'Defense comes from within,' but now, everything starts with defense and then we let that dictate the offense."
'He knows we're in it together'
Coach and player are back together again. From Broadway and the Big Apple, to the bright lights of Hollywood, they're still linked by a bouncing ball. And they both have plenty of motivation to make up for the past.
"I feel like his spirit is great," Williams said. "Mike is the type of guy for me, he knows we're in it together. So, his spirit is always going to be high as a coach, as a leader. He don't harp on a lot of stuff. He tries to stay positive through losses and wins. That's what I can recall from him in New York.
"The way I've been seeing it, he's been positive. He's been kind of amped and hyped and he's just been doing a lot of defense. That's the most shocking thing about it. He's doing a lot of defense. That's good. That just shows me that he's thinking ahead and working on everything."
Just like Williams is working on his body, his game, his life, little by little.
"He's a tough guy," D'Antoni said. "I'll walk down an alley with him at night and I'll be fine. Now, he won't get much help from me, but I'm sure I'll get a lot of help from him."
The thing about that is, D'Antoni has already helped Williams in so many ways.
I think this publicity really in camp etc can give us some insights into how D'antoni deals with players, his 'honesty' with Williams does speak volumes. I'm not gonna go crazy and say he'll help us to 60 wins as everything prior there are many things we could talk about. But I'm giving him a clean slate this year, and stories like this do make me like the guy a bit more for what he's done for someone like Williams.
Hopefully williams translates to a fantastic stretch 4 for us that we didn't have last year!!! He'll bring intensity and tenacity that's for sure and that long wingspan can help us loads especially with D'antoni as well as Rambis asking for more defense. This is a big deal. We're gonna run off defensive stops so that will be fun to watch.
Just want us to give full effort every night and take full advantage of our depth! That shall only be possible if we remain healthy! That is the big thing
Edited by Majesty, October 01, 2013 - 10:37 PM.