Anybody that reads my tweets or my columns knows that I am not a big Lou Williams fan. Yes, he’s the best pure scorer on the team. No, he doesn’t score efficiently. What troubles me is that other than his scoring he has no positive impact on the team, and scoring while shooting only 40% from the floor isn’t very helpful.
If he wakes up and starts to drive the lane more often (he’s a terrific finisher) he can be very effective. Until then, we have a player review.
Stats: 40.3% FG, 34% 3FG, 82.9% FT
Lou has only been a good shooter for a full season once in his career: last year in Eddie Jordan’s system, when he shot 47% from the floor. Strangely enough, he took 4 shots fewer per 36 minutes last year than this year, which to me says that he’s shooting too much. He’s a streaky shooter who seems to hit shots in bunches or not at all. Overall, though, his shooting percentages look like those of Allen Iverson, who was his mentor here in Philadelphia. That’s not a good thing for a marginal player like Lou. However, they are better since the beginning of the year, so hopefully they continue to increase.
When Lou gets to the line, he does make his free throws, which is very valuable considering the number of attempts.
Stats: 13.5 PPG, 10.5 FGA, 3.3 3FGA, 4.8 FTA
Lou can score – he puts up his scoring numbers in under 24 minutes per game. He also gets to the line often, which is amazing since he doesn’t get into the lane nearly as often as he should. He has the ability to get into the lane almost at will, yet he would just rather pull up from 21-feet and launch low-percentage shots. He does have an amazing pump-fake, which I don’t understand, since it looks so fake that I’m not sure how anyone falls for it.
He usually can gets his shot over or around people because he tends to “float” in the air or lean to the side to get his shot off. Sometimes, he’ll even fade away. Leading and fading diminish the odds of the shot going in, but at least it has a chance (instead of it getting blocked). He also has a quick release, which he needs considering his height. Lou takes too many threes for his own good, which hurts his overall percentages. His points per game have increased as his percentages have increased, so hopefully he keeps increasing his percentages. Overall, he was a much better scorer last year, and would be very valuable if he returned to last year’s production levels.
Passing and Ball-Handling
Stats: 3.3 AST, 1.4 TO, 2.4 AST/TO
Lou actually takes care of the ball turnover-wise, which is good, especially for a guy who poses as a point guard. He’s not a point guard, but he plays that position on our team. He doesn’t have many turnovers despite his constant dribbling into double teams. While he doesn’t turn the ball over and has the 3rd most assists on the team, he’s not a set-up guy. I’m not sure how he gets his assists, because he doesn’t put teammates in position to succeed. He can set up the offensive sets, but again just because you get assists it doesn’t always mean you’re a playmaker. Also, as I said earlier, he can get into the lane whenever he wants, which makes it troubling when he almost never does it.
He tends to slow the game down when he has the ball, which can be both good and bad. When he slows the game down in transition, it’s usually bad, since this team works best when it runs. However, in the halfcourt game it works as a positive, since we have so many over-eager dribblers, like Jodie and Evan, for instance.
Stats: 2.9 RPG, 0.7 ORPG, 2.2 DRPG
We’re not paying Lou to rebound, so there’s no reason for him to have many. Most of his rebounds come on long shots, since he doesn’t really fight for boards (and he shouldn’t).
Individual and Team Defense
Stats: 0.5 STL, 0.3 BLK
Lou also doesn’t play defense well. Sometimes, it’s a effort thing. Not closing out on open shooters or letting your guy drive uncontested into the lane is an effort issue. Other times it’s a lack of knowledge about schemes or opponents. Basketball announcers often cite the expression KYP – know your personnel. It almost seems like he forgets who he’s covering sometimes. You don’t want to leave Steve Nash open. You don’t need to cover Andre Miller at the three-point line. Those types of things he seems to forget often, and it hurts the team, even when he puts effort into his play. His defense hurts the team, so he has to make up for it on the other end. And while he can score, he needs to do so more efficiently to have a greater positive impact on this team, since right now it just looks like he’s treading water.