Free agent profile: Reggie Williams
This is the 35th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.
Golden State Warriors small forward Reggie Williams
Type of free agent: restricted
Positives: Williams impressed former Warriors Coach Keith Smart so much with his 42.3% mark from three-point range that he told him he has the green light to shoot whenever he wants. The Lakers never had that luxury, with the coaching staff telling the back court to limit its outside shooting and feed the bigs inside. As offensively threatening as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are, defenders had an easier time stopping them simply because they knew they could gamble with giving everyone else open perimeter shots. The result: the Lakers finished 35.2% from three-point range in the regular season, 28.9% in the postseason and 37.5% on shots from within 16-23 feet, according to Hoopdata, leading to a cyclical pattern in which they either didn't shoot at all (Steve Blake) or kept firing away (everyone else).
Williams is only two years removed from the Development League, and that would serve the Lakers well because of his youth (25) and hunger. His sweet shooting stroke immediately bolsters his outside shooting. His ability to score 18 points per 40 minutes, shows he would make good use of his time in a bench role. Plus Williams already has a few ice-breakers that would help him fit in with teammates. Like Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, Williams loves to play the video game, Black Ops. Like Bynum, Williams has already read the book "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, a book Bynum says explains in detail "how things get big" such as how a company's modified marketing strategy yields more profits or how selecting the right group of friends helps an individual meet other people.
Negatives: As much as Williams can help the Lakers' outside shooting, the Warriors experienced plenty of inconsistency from his last season. At one point in the season Williams went nine games without scoring in double figures shortly after recording nine consecutive double doubles.
The Lakers are fortunate that they wouldn't have to rely on Williams to carry the offense, but a more limited role might even fuel more inconsistency. Consider how much differently Williams produced as a starter in 24 games in the 2009-10 season (15.2 points on 49.5% shooting in 32 minutes) and in the 80 games last season that he came off the bench (9.2 points on 46.9% in 20 minutes). That clip isn't necessarily bad considering no bench player outside of Lamar Odom scored more than that many points, but it's conceivable that being around more talented players would lower that rate even more.
On the other end of the ball, Williams will try on defense, but he's not well conditioned nor sharp on rotations. As much as the Lakers would benefit from his outside shooting, the Lakers' identity rests more on the defensive end of the floor.
Verdict: The Golden State Warriors have already made a $1.1-million qualifying offer, meaning they have any right to match any offer. The Lakers should pursue him so long as they don't have to get in a bidding frenzy.
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