Williams trying more to set up Sonics’ offense, not be it

  • FRANK HUGHES / News Tribune
  • Friday, November 3, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By FRANK HUGHES

News Tribune

SEATTLE – When Seattle SuperSonics coach Paul Westphal talked with his players about their roles last week, one of the most explicit talks was with Shammond Williams.

Williams, after all, was going to have to take the largest step back, from being a regular contributor in the preseason to being strictly the backup to Gary Payton, which sometimes means languishing on the bench altogether.

But the beauty of the NBA is that occasionally opportunities come along that are unexpected.

Williams’ opportunity came when teammate Brent Barry was injured during warmups before Tuesday’s season opener.

Barry isn’t in danger of becoming roundball’s Wally Pipp – the baseball player who sat out a game with a headache and was replaced fulltime by legendary ironman Lou Gehrig – but in two games, Williams is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 17 points. This, from a guy who averaged 5.2 points a year ago.

In addition, Williams is shooting 63.6 percent from 3-point range. He made four of six 3-pointers in the loss to Vancouver, then banged in another three of five in the victory over Denver Wednesday night.

“I’m just knocking down shots,” said Williams, who looks to continue his hot hand when Seattle hosts Portland tonight.

“I don’t get a lot of shots, so I am just capitalizing when I get them. I have been blessed to be a good shooter. Shots are easy for me because I work on it so much.”

Williams has been known for being able beat virtually anyone in the league one-on-one. In NBA vernacular, it’s called putting somebody in the matrix. But in the first two games this season Williams has shown an even better game, the ability to fit into the offense.

This past summer Williams averaged 20.5 points a game. And he still had that mentality when he came to camp. But the Sonics have slowly weaned him of the habit of overdribbling, of looking to get himself into position to score first, and now he’s looking to set up the offense. Every now and again, he will drift into his former mode, but he is making strides toward being more of a team player.

“I have to make a conscious effort,” Williams said. “I feel like I can break people down off the dribble. If somebody is pressuring me, I can put him in the matrix and beat him. Being the set-up guy, you can’t just beat him. It’s just more or less getting into position, setting the offense up and getting us going in the play we need to run.”

In the last few games, that has not been an issue for Williams. Instead of backing up Payton, he has been playing alongside him. Which is, in all likelihood, one of the reasons Williams has found himself open for so many shots.

“He’s getting good looks at the basket because we are spacing the floor real well when he is in there,” Westphal said. “He is really as good a shooter as there is when he gets time to get his feet set. So it’s really not surprising. He is letting the game come to him and doing a good job.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Glacier Peak’s Karsten Sweum (10) poses for a portrait as The Herald's All-Area Baseball Player of the Year at Glacier Peak High School on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2024 Baseball Player of the Year: Glacier Peak’s Karsten Sweum

The smoke-throwing senior left-handed pitcher struck out more than two batters per inning.

Lake Stevens’ Trey Nance deals early in the game during a playoff loss to Bothell on Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2024 All-Area baseball team

Editor’s note: The Player of the Year and All-Area teams were chosen… Continue reading

Glacier Peak grad King comes up just short in Olympic bid

King placed third in the men’s 50 freestyle at U.S. Olympic trials, but still could qualify in a relay.

Shorewood senior Isaak Abraham poses for a portrait as The Herald's Boys Soccer Player of the Year at Shorewood High School on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 in Shoreline, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2024 Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Shorewood’s Isaak Abraham

The Stormrays senior forward led Shorewood to Wesco 3A/2A and Class 3A District 1 titles.

Everett’s J’aiden Cranwell-Meneses leaves a Monroe defender in the dirt while advancing the ball during a 3A District soccer match on Thursday, May 2, 2024, at Monroe High School in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2024 All-Area boys soccer team

Editor’s note: The Player of the Year and All-Area teams were chosen… Continue reading

Lake Stevens High School graduate Taylor Roe competes for Oklahoma State University at the 2024 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 8 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University)
Taylor Roe competes at the Olympic trials this weekend

Now that the Lake Stevens H.S. graduate’s decorated college running career is done, the pro ranks are next.

Jean-Luc Baker leads advanced students through a warmup during the Seattle Skating Club 2024 Your True Step figure skating seminar on Saturday, June 15, 2024, at Olympic View Arena in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Patterson: What’s next for local Olympian Jean-Luc Baker?

The Edmonds ice dancer brought Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen to town with Your True Step.

Soccer legends to be part of local Copa America watch party

Pete Fewing, Marcus Hahnemann will be on hand at Angel of the Winds Arena for next Thursday’s U.S. game.

Mukilteo’s Beard places second in hammer at U20 nationals

The King’s High School sophomore has a chance to represent the U.S. at U20 worlds.

Sounders complete purchase of NWSL’s Seattle Reign

Now both of Seattle’s pro soccer teams are under the umbrella of one ownership group.

Logan Gilbert of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park on June 16, 2024, in Seattle, Washington. (Alika Jenner / Getty Images)
Mariners week: Gilbert’s brilliance lifts Seattle to sweep

Seattle’s 8 1/2-game lead in the AL West is its largest since the 2001 season.

AquaSox week in review: Mariners’ Polanco does rehab stint

Everett wins five of six on the road against Eugene; Schreck and Garcia have big weeks.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.