Hawks Counting on Williams! - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

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Hawks Counting on Williams!

ATLANTA (AP) - When Marvin Williams left Chapel Hill, North Carolina, last year, he was a teenager who looked, and played, like a baby when compared with the stars of the NBA.  The Atlanta Hawks will show off the more mature Williams in his Chapel Hill homecoming for Friday night's preseason game against Charlotte.  The Hawks hope one year of seasoning is enough to prepare Williams for a starting job this season. Williams was carefully protected, with his playing time as a backup closely watched through most of his rookie season.  Williams was the second overall pick of the 2005 draft by Atlanta after his freshman season at North Carolina. Hawks coach Mike Woodson quickly realized that the lofty draft status didn't qualify Williams for an immediate significant role.  Woodson brought Williams along slowly, starting him near the end of the bench and gradually increasing his playing time. Williams' scoring average rose each month of the season, from 5.5 points in November to 12.3 points in April.  Now the Hawks are letting Williams run free, and start. He's the only player to start each of the team's first seven preseason games. He has delivered 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.  Williams' ability to handle the starting job may be the key to the young Hawks' hopes to end their streak of seven straight losing seasons.

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