Marvin Williams’ 3-Point Game Getting Better with Age

By Sam Perley

There are currently 135 players in the NBA on pace to reach 82 three-point field goals this season – the league’s minimum requirement to rank on its official leaderboard. Right now, only four of them have a higher conversion rate than 31-year-old Hornets forward Marvin Williams, whose 44.4 percent three-point percentage is nearly 10 points higher than last season.  

Having built a reputation as a tireless worker immersed in constant repetition, Williams’ recent success is largely a byproduct of simply keeping things consistent.  

“My routine has not changed since the first year I got here,” said Williams earlier this month. “I worked every single day in the summer time with [Hornets Assistant Coach] Pat Delany. A couple years ago, I shot it really well. Last year, I didn’t shoot it as well as I wanted to, but I’m still getting those same shots.”

Williams hit just 35.0 percent of his attempts from behind the arc last season after knocking down a career-high 40.2 percent of such shots in 2015-16. Always looking for ways to get better, he recently made a small alteration in his mechanics that could be the reason behind his big improvements this year. 

“Bruce [Kreutzer] – our shooting coach – made a little, minor adjustment. He always reminds me to stay on my toes,” Williams said. “Sometimes when I catch the ball, I catch it on my heels. When I go to shoot, I’m off balance or I’m fading or I’m leaning. He’s constantly reminding me, constantly showing me film to stay on my toes. When I’m on the balls of my feet, everything feels right and I can shoot it from there.” 

Williams spent nine NBA seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz before signing with the Hornets in the summer of 2014. At that point, he had amassed 353 three-point field goals on 33.5 percent shooting in his career. In his three-and-a-half years in Charlotte, he’s blown well past that number already (447), while knocking down 38.3 percent of his long-range attempts.

He currently ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time three-point field goal leaderboard and is within striking distance of moving past Glen Rice (508) for third place by the end of this season.

Rice also holds the franchise record for highest single-season three-point percentage (47.0 percent), which he achieved in the 1996-97 campaign. As of now, Williams is on pace to finish the year with the second-best single-season three-point conversion rate in Hornets history, passing Hersey Hawkins’ 44.0 percent in 1994-95.

“I think it speaks to his professionalism and the way that he’s adapted to the NBA game,” said Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford. “In terms of his work ethic, I mean, he shoots more – we have a lot of guys who are hard workers – but nobody shoots more shots daily than he does.”

Clifford added, “I think if you talk to the younger guys, he’s a great role model, in two ways. One is his work ethic [and] two is the team things, also. There’s a lot of guys who play in this league that will work on their game. Now if you came to a practice and saw any drill that we’re doing that involved team things, he’s the absolute expert, in my opinion, on what we’re doing offensively and defensively.”

Anything north of 40.0 percent from three-point range is exceptional in the NBA nowadays and even more impressive for a player like Williams, who only recently developed into a long-range shooter in the back half of his career. Whether or not he finishes the year atop the rankings or record books, he’s certainly putting together quite a season while establishing himself as one of the league’s premier three-point threats.