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Looking back at Marvin Williams posting up smaller players

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Marvin Williams was the league's second most productive post player in the 2015-16 regular season. The 11-year veteran recorded 1.16 points per possession in the post by bullying any smaller player matched up against him.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The particularities and rules of today's NBA have affected many aspects of the basketball game. As the league evolves certain components remain moreso a thing of the past. That especially applies to the low post game.

With illegal defense rules scrapped, you can make a post behemoth see bodies even before he catches the ball. The same applies to the entry passer who is trying to thread the needle and actually get him the ball. Defenses can front that particular big man and have someone hang on a "2.9" on the backside, in case the overhead pass comes.

In addition, small ball teams will try to exploit this when playing against more traditional two big man lineups. They can try to defend in space and fly all over the court on defense and then reap the benefits on offense by being faster and probably more dangerous from the three. Stick a wing on someone like Frank Kaminsky and he might be rendered unplayable if he can't post up or hurt you on the offensive glass.

Some will dare the opposition to go to the post. If you trust in your big man defending on the perimeter (or simply you trust in switching), you might switch pick-and-rolls, stall the offense and offer opponents the opportunity of attacking supposed mis-matches in isolation. A dying shot clock, a difficult entry pass, a player not accustomed to posting up and a defense ready to overcrowd said player - all of those things can stack up against you.

For that reason, any player savvy enough of exploiting such scenarios can be valuable to a team's offense. That's exactly what Marvin Williams did for the Charlotte Hornets. Per Synergy data at stats.nba.com, Marvin Williams produced the second most points per possession in the post at 1.16, trailing only Kevin Durant.

While Williams wasn't posted up as often as the league's best threats from the low block (38 possessions for the season is a below average amount), Charlotte did go to him on purpose when the opportunity presented itself. If the defense switched on a perimeter action (like on a Kemba Walker - Marvin Williams pick-and-roll), the Hornets were ready to go to Marv down low. The same could happen if the opponent had a smaller defender, like Marcus Smart (who actually is quite capable of handling bigger players), matched up against Williams:

Questioning the sustainability of such shots is only understandable. A notable chunk of these possessions combine the factors of Williams furiously backing down his man, him firing a contested turnaround shot and the field goal attempt actually not being all that close to the basket. The former Tar Heel is a very good shooter, however, you can't be certain that he would knock down as many of these looks again.

I don't necessarily want to proclaim Williams as a good weapon against any smaller player slotted against him. Besides, we just witnessed a playoff series in which the Miami Heat stayed home on role players like Marv and consequently took them out of the equation. Williams's track record doesn't suggest the ability of constantly being able to create for himself.

Even so, Williams has clearly found his way as a small ball four after reporting to training camp in terrific shape. These post-ups were one of the many ways in which the 29-year-old showed off his versatility. Sustainable or not, Williams's big payday is coming.