Pistons add depth, shooting by claiming veteran Shawne Williams off waivers
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The Pistons made the type of move Tuesday in claiming veteran shooter Shawne Williams off waivers that Stan Van Gundy has seen pay off for them already in similarly unheralded deals for Anthony Tolliver and Joel Anthony.
Williams, 29, is expected to join the Pistons before they host the Knicks on Friday night. A seven-year veteran drafted 17th in 2006 by Indiana after one year at the University of Memphis, Williams essentially fills the hole left by last week's trade of Jonas Jerebko to Boston in the deal that reunited the Pistons and Tayshaun Prince.
"We're a little thin up front," Van Gundy said. "Shawne played very well in Miami this year. He's a guy who comes on a value contract and he's got a non-guaranteed contract for next year, so it gives us a lot of flexibility and it's one of those moves that helps us right now, going forward, over the last 25 games and also gives us an asset and that's what we're into. We're trying to get better, we're trying to acquire assets. I think Shawne fits in both categories."
Williams started 22 games for Miami this season, averaging 6.6 points in 21 minutes and shooting .395 from the 3-point line, where he takes more than half of his shots.
Van Gundy views Williams as a stretch four and said his acquisition doesn't have any impact on Quincy Miller, signed to a 10-day contract on Saturday, calling Miller "a developmental guy we're looking at to see where we want to go. Shawne's more of a guy we think can play right now. He's a guy that should be ready to go and throw in an NBA game right now."
Van Gundy held an informal coaches summit at the team practice facility last summer and he invited Mike D'Antoni, a coach he credits with doing much to revolutionize the modern NBA with his heavy emphasis on a pick-and-roll foundation and putting four shooters on the perimeter, to join the group. Against the Pistons on Nov. 29, 2013, Williams scored 20 points to help the Lakers win as he hit 6 of 13 3-point shots at The Palace.
"We were just talking about the guys he'd coached and, unsolicited, he spoke really, really highly of Shawne from his year with him last year – his attitude, his work ethic and what he thought of him as a player," Van Gundy said. "That's been in my mind all along. I thought he played well for Miami early this year and when he was out there at waiver time, (general manager) Jeff (Bower0 and I started talking about him and put in the claim now knowing if we'd be the team that ended up getting him. This is another good move for us. We just want to put together as many good moves as we can, even if they're small ones."
By adding Williams, the Pistons again have a full roster of 15 players.