Bobcats land shooting guard Williams from Warriors
CHARLOTTE — Bobcats coach Paul Silas got what he wanted — a long-range shooter.
Charlotte signed shooting guard Reggie Williams to a two-year contract Thursday, filling one of the team's biggest needs.
But the team also announced Williams will have surgery in the coming days to repair a tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee. He's expected to be sidelined for approximately six to eight weeks with the pre-existing injury.
The Bobcats finished 29th among 30 NBA teams in 3-point percentage last season at 32.7 percent. Williams should help improve that number. He was eighth in the league in 3-point shooting last season at 42.3 percent while averaging 9.2 points per game for the Warriors.
"Reggie brings outside shooting and that's what we needed," Silas said. "When you're down and trying to get back in the game it really helps you. And it brings the crowd into it."
At the team's media day Thursday, Silas emphasized he expects the Bobcats to push the ball up the court.
That's not a big surprise.
The Bobcats are heavy on athleticism and light on big men.
What's a little surprising is Silas said he expects to play point guards D.J. Augustin and rookie Kemba Walker together at certain points during the game. Walker is 6-foot-1 and Augustin is an inch shorter, so the Bobcats would be taking "small ball" to the extreme.
But Silas views them as scorers he needs on the floor and two guys who can push the tempo if they learn to play off each other.
"We are going to run," Silas said. "We're really going to run."
His players know that as well. That's why several of them said they haven't minded spending extra time working on their conditioning.
"Let's face it, we're not a team that needs to get caught in up in a half-court game," Augustin said.
Silas said the Bobcats have come to training camp with a terrific attitude, a tone set by new veteran leader Corey Maggette.
Not only is Maggette leading by example off the court, but also is showing how things get done on the floor. Silas said he looked at the shooting numbers charted every day by the coaching staff, and Maggette is making 80 percent of shots — albeit uncontested — during shooting drills.
Maggette's mere presence, he said, has helped the camaraderie following the offseason trade of Stephen Jackson.
"The atmosphere is much better," Silas said. "These guys like each other and are playing hard and coming together. You just can't have one guy on the other side and everybody else trying to get together. It just doesn't work, especially if that guy is someone who plays."
Silas said he knows many are counting out the Bobcats, but he isn't.
He said while it might take his young team some time to learn his system, he expects them to take off around February or March.
"I think we'll be right there at the end," Silas said. "But it's not going to be easy from the start. But people talk about it being a year from now (but) I think it's going to be this year."
Silas believes that time frame for success can be pushed up if the team can get rookie lottery pick Bismack Biyombo back on the floor.
Biyombo has been working on the side in individual drills but can't participate in team drills until his contract situation is resolved with his former Spanish team Fuenlabrada. Negotiations to free Biyombo from the contract remain at an impasse and may not be settled until after Biyombo's civil suit is heard Dec. 19 in Spain.
But Silas said Biyombo is chomping at the bit.
During a recent conditioning drill, Silas said Biyombo dunked the ball 73 consecutive times before Silas walked over and told him to stop. He said normally players get to 30 or 35 before their legs start to give out and they miss.
"He could have gotten to 100," Silas said with a laugh.
Silas said it's ripped Biyombo apart not to be out playing with his teammates.
"He wants it so badly," Silas said. "This is what he's really about — playing and rebounding and going hard all of the time.
"It's been hard for him and us. I want to see him out here and see what he can really do and be able to teach him and get his shot right. Because I think he can be a major part of this ballclub and us winning. If we don't have him we're not going to be as good of a team."