Leave it up the New York Knicks to find a player with actual potential, only to let him go the second the player had the chance.
That's exactly what happened with former Knick and current New Jersey Nets sharp shooter Shawne Williams, who recently departed for the team to chase a $5 million contract that was offered by the division rival. Williams is now set to become the possible starting small forward for the Nets after the team utilized the amnesty clause on Travis Outlaw.
Outlaw was an incredible disappointment for the Nets last season after the team signed him to a deal last offseason that was worth $35 million. He was projected to be a multi-dimensional threat at the small forward position, but instead shot 38 percent, averaged nine points and four boards per game, and lost his starting job to the likes of Damion James and Sasha Vujacic.
The 6'9" Williams was given his first chance to prove himself last year after bouncing around the league and playing on his third team in a career that's only spanned four seasons. Williams was given 20 minutes per in his first season with the Knicks and made sure to take advantage by averaging seven points per on 43 percent from the floor to go along with four rebounds per.
Those numbers aren't much to look at, but it was his three-point shooting that made the Nets excited to possibly start him at power forward.
Williams averaged one three-pointer per game last season while converting on a 40 percent clip. His performances from beyond the arc near the end of the season allowed the Knicks to see the potential that they possessed in a combo forward that can shoot from deep at a highly efficient rate. He managed to impress in the post season with a 17-point performance in game three when he hit 6-of-10 from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Shawne also had a great deal of quality games throughout the season when it came to shooting from beyond the arc, which includes a 25-point game against Utah where he shot 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, a 16-point game against New Orleans where he shot 4-of-6. He also had a stretch early in the season where he managed to convert on 10 of the 12 shots he attempted from deep with those 12 shots representing his first tries from beyond the arc.
Following those games, however, Williams wasn't given too many substantial minutes until late in the season when the team was lacking in depth after trading away a number of role players in the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Williams averaged eight points in the postseason and shot 43 percent from beyond the arc while managing to hit at least one three-pointer in each of the Knicks four games. He will now find himself on the Nets with a much more significant role, while New Jersey benefits from getting a possible starter for an extremely cheap price due to the overall lack of a demand.
The Knicks now lose out on one of the few pure three-point shooters they possessed. Williams was second on the team in three-point percentage last season and they will now most likely rely on Carmelo Anthony for the majority of their tries from deep. However, the may find that difficult now that they have Anthony being the teams' primary facilitator and will more than likely be looking to pass the ball from the perimeter rather than shooting it.
Not all hope is lost for the Knicks from deep as they still possess Toney Douglas, who shot 37 percent from deep and Landy Fields who shot 39 percent. Nevertheless, the Knicks needed the depth at every position and without Williams, they will continue to severely lack off the bench with rookie Iman Shumpert and point guard Mike Bibby being the few glimmers of hope.
The Knicks will now have to look towards other options to stretch the floor and with no pure shooters, that means more attention can be focused within the arc on the likes of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony when he attempts to drive in the lane. If they had Williams on the floor, the team would at least be able to have some attention drawn towards the perimeter rather than having it all focused within the arc.
By putting all their money into acquiring Williams, the Knicks lost all their leverage to spend and couldn't look towards re-signing the sharp shooter because of it. They will now have to look forward to taking him on four times a year whenever they take on the Nets.