So I was contemplating the five questions for training camp I have to come up with for Tuesday’s newspaper, going down the usual list of suspects, when it occurred to me I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about one key question:
What about Marvin?
I know my blog people haven’t forgotten him since you’ve included his name in every possible dream trade scenario all summer. I’ve seen him criticized for seemingly not spending enough time developing his game over the summer (the dude is a gym rat by all accounts) and too much time developing as a human (he can’t spend every minute in the gym, can he?)
That’s not to say I don’t understand the frustration. Fans are selfish by nature, and what you want to know is now what did Marvin do to become a better person but how can he help the Hawks be better. Does it provide any solace to hear that Marvin knows he needs to be better, too?
The Hawks are pinning much of their hopes for Marvin’s improvement on L.D.’s new offense. Marvin is, too.
“That always sounds good to a player,” Marvin said. “You always want to be involved. Last year my production went down. Hopefully with this new offense guys will get looks on a more consistent basis and they will be better looks.
“Some nights, for me I could have 20 [points] or I could have 4. For our team to be a good team, I personally can’t have nights like that. So hopefully with this new offense, I will know where the shots are coming from each night and be able to knock them down.”
Actually, Marvin only had four nights of at least 20 points during the regular season and one in 11 playoff games. Even considering how Williams often got lost in the iso-shuffle, that’s not good enough for a player with his physical attributes and talent.
It’s true that perhaps no Hawks player has to put in more double-duty than Marvin. Checking NBA small forwards night after night isn’t easy. Doing so and then also being expected to make consistent offensive contributions, even as a guy who plays off teammates, is even harder.
But Marvin is entering his sixth season, he’s set to make more than $22 million over the next three years, the Hawks need him to produce and so here we are.
“You spend so much energy on the defensive end [but] at the same time you’ve got to make your opponent guard,” he said. “It’s hard enough to guard them but you can’t let them come down and catch a blow on defense. With this new offense and everybody moving hopefully [defenders] will have some more to think about.”
Marvin took some time to think this summer. He went back to Chapel Hill and continued work on his African-American Studies degree (”Probably three more summers to go,” he said). He recently played host to a local bowling event for Special Olympics, an organization he’s volunteered with since he was a sophomore in high school.
Before that, Marvin went to Dakar, Senegal, with the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.
“The people were great,” he said. “The people were so nice. They made something out of literally nothing. Those guys are out there playing on dirt courts. It was 120 degrees, it felt like. Super humid. They are out there exercising, working on their game.”
The NBA contingent helped with the effort to put up bed netting in villages in the region with the hope of eradicating malaria.
“I think that was the most special thing for me was to be able to help out,” he said. “Just a little bit.”
So it’s not exactly back to reality for Marvin. More like back from that harsh reality to his job, which figures to be tougher as expectations for his performance rise (again).
“Coach just wanted me to come back ready,” he said. “I just continue to do the things I’ve been doing: shooting the ball, try to get quicker guarding the ball, trying to handle the ball. Just try to stay consistent. I’ve got to work on being consistent this year. I think that is my biggest thing.”