Another day, another low-key signing by the Mavs with a potential payoff far greater than the risk. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Dallas is currently finalizing a two-year deal for former New Jersey Net and Texas Legend Sean Williams. It’s not a spectacular acquisition, but Williams — who wore out his NBA welcome during his tour in New Jersey from 2007-2010 — steps in as an immediate impact shot blocker with the potential to be a more complete defender.
Don’t get those two things confused; Williams may put up monster block numbers (he averaged a 6.4 percent block rate in the NBA, and a 7.2 percent mark in the D-League), but he’s no defensive anchor. Williams can challenge shots if he’s present, but his understanding of when and how to rotate to this point in his career has been subpar. That alone can’t stop a spectacular athlete from swooping in for blocks, but in virtually all other aspects of his game, Williams still has a ways to go.
Still, to grab a 25-year-old big man with a specialization-level skill on (essentially) a one-year deal with a team option is pretty nice. Dallas will now have the opportunity to take both Williams and Brandan Wright out for trial runs, work with them on harnessing their athleticism, and evaluate their progress on a year-by-year basis. This isn’t the kind of deal that made the Mavericks into a long-time contender, but it’s of the same ilk that nabbed J.J. Barea and Brandon Bass for pocket change. Dallas has long been known for big moves with big contracts involved, but Donnie Nelson’s work on the low end of the salary spectrum has been impressive, with this off-season’s signings acting as merely the most recent examples.