|Lou Williams: a poor man's Allen Iverson?|
Every Sixers fan remembers December 9th, 2006. Oh, yes, you do too. It was the day Allen Iverson requested a trade from Philadelphia after 10 years of servitude. I remember walking in from school that day, seeing all of the headlines on ESPN and thinking that all of the effort he and the Sixers had put forth over the years was for not. What I didn't realize, though, is what Iverson would leave us with 11 days later when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets. His grooming helped Iguodala become one of the best sidekicks in the NBA (although no one would properly fill the superstar void left by Iverson), his trade netted Philadelphia 2 first round picks and an incredibly efficient point guard that would eventually leave Philadelphia just as under appreciated as he entered in Andre Miller, and his example (along with the teachings of Andre Miller) would create a player with enormous potential: Lou Williams.
Williams spent much of his rookie season watching Iverson from the sidelines. Being a late second round draftee out of high school (the year break before entering the draft was declared mandatory for the following year), Williams was not given many opportunities his rookie season. Iverson's departure in the following season opened up playing time for Williams, who earned himself more minutes due to flashes of electrifying play. Still, Williams would finish the season averaging under 5 points a game with a little over 10 minutes a game. It wasn't until the following season that Williams truly flourished under the guidance of Andre Miller. In fact, it was Williams that would originally take over the starting point guard role when Miller would reject the Sixers low ball offers for more fruitful opportunities in Portland (now playing in Denver, once again). Under Eddie Jordan's Princeton offense that favors those who have high scoring abilities, Williams would flourish. Stepping into that offense's starting point guard role (along with rookie Jrue Holiday, who would replace Williams as the starter due to injuries that limited him late in the season) allowed Williams to post career highs in FG% (47%), rebounding (2.9), assists (4.2), steals (1.3), and maintained efficiency with less than 2 turnovers a game. With his repertoire displaying what he learned from the savvy Andre Miller and electric Allen Iverson, Williams future in Philadelphia was looking very bright, even though the Sixers would finish the season with less than 30 wins.
|Lou Williams may need to become more efficient, but he'll never|
need more confidence
Although Sweet Lou is thought to be the Sixers sure thing with time running down, his reputation is not exactly befitting. With 5 minutes remaining or less (including overtime) and the disparity within 5 points, Williams has made just 10 of his total 25 attempts including shooting just 4 of 13 from beyond the arc while giving up 2 turnovers on no steals and 3 assists across 8 opportunities. Certainly a late game finisher has a better trait than shooting a measly 40% from the field, right? That could possibly be his free throw game, as he's converted 15 of 17 free throw attempts: undoubtedly a great ratio. Still, many of those 15 misses he accounted for were complete commitments to getting fouled and not being rewarded, which results in wasted possessions during crunch times. His complete dependence on getting the foul call has become problematic of late, as teams have learned his tactics and have played accordingly. As these fruitless attempts add up, his overall field goal percentage had dropped significantly. In fact, his shooting has been steadily falling ever since his scorching hot start. Last month was by far the worst for the sixth man, as his percentages for February (38% FG, 33% 3-point, 80% FT) ended as season lows.
Williams is a one dimensional player on a team that wins through being multi-dimensional. No one doubts his ability to score, but his ability to do anything else is less accepted. In his 7 NBA seasons, Williams has tallied just 2 double doubles. Excluding rookie Lavoy Allen, he's the only Sixer in rotation to be without one this season.
On defense, Williams is a liability. His .8 steals per game is horrendous for someone who has played the game at the professional level for as long as he has, but when it comes to defense, it's very difficult to give a statistical analysis. His negative value on defense is nevertheless visible, though. Even when the ball is given to him late in close games, coach Doug Collins subs Williams out on defense whenever possible. For the best defensive team in the NBA, that serves as an unnecessary obstacle.
|Lou Williams could be the savior of the Lakers |