Warriors coach Keith Smart has given swingman Reggie Williams the very thing most NBA players want: the green light.
Lately, Williams has been using it, totaling 28 points on 18 shots the past two games. But the question is whether Williams uses such leeway consistently from here on out.
" 'I have no reservations on you,' " Smart said he told Williams. " 'You can do whatever you need to do to be a threat for us, to make plays for yourself or to make plays for other people.' "
Williams was integral to the Warriors' current two-game win streak, scoring 16 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday and 12 against New Jersey on Monday. He played big minutes down the stretch in place of point guard Stephen Curry. In both games, Williams attacked the defense and had a quick trigger on his shot, giving the Warriors offense some extra oomph.
But the Warriors want Williams to play this way all the time, and Williams said consistency is the only thing he lacks. Before the past two games, Williams went nine consecutive games without scoring in double figures. That followed a stretch of seven straight double-digit games in mid-December while he filled in for an injured Curry.
Williams said his teammates urge him to be aggressive. Smart said he tries to get Williams going by running a few plays for him when he checks in. The goal is to keep him from shifting into defer mode, which he did early in the season when he served as the backup
Williams' numbers are notably down from last season, when he averaged 15.2 points on 49.5 percent shooting with 4.6 rebounds as a rookie. The drop can be attributed to a decline in minutes (down nearly 10 per game from last year), more scorers on the Warriors than last season and the shift to a more structured offense.
But Smart said Williams is improving, especially on defense. "I want him to get to that point where he uses his 7-foot-1 wingspan," Smart said.