D’Antoni ‘Spending More Time on Defense’
Shawne Williams was just another draft bust that had been discarded by the league when he arrived on Mike D’Antoni’s and the New York Knicks’ doorstep in September 2010.
“I gained my respect for Mike was when I first got to New York,” Williams told ESPNLosAngeles.com at Los Angeles Lakers training camp this week. “We had a meeting and he told me a couple things. I won’t put that out in the public, but he told me some things. He told me the truth. And I respect him for that.”
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.”