The player I'll be previewing today is controversial combo-guard Lou Williams. About 70% of the debates at Liberty Ballers revolve around Lou Williams. People either love him or hate him; there's no in between. Some claim they'd rather have a bag of Doritos play backup point guard. Others are already campaigning for him to win NBA MVP. See what I have to say about Lou after the jump.
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Lou's strength has always been his scoring, but last year he did it with efficiency, for the first time in his career. He finished with a PER of 18.2 (15th amongst all guards), .576 TS% (T-14 amongst all guards), and .521 eFG% (T-30 amongst all guards). He also finished with the most win shares (5.2) and win shares/48 (0.130) of his career.
However; Lou's career-year didn't see improvement in every area. His free throws per 36 dropped from 7.2 per game to 4.4, the lowest since his rookie season. And his defense -- much like every other Sixer under Eddie Jordan -- saw zero improvement, if not regression.
Going into his sixth NBA season, and set to turn 24 next month I think Lou has all but maximized his potential. He may show minimal improvement here and there -- especially his defense under Coach Collins -- but for the most part he's become the player he will be for the rest of his career. As a matter of fact, I'll take years like he had last year, every year from here on out.
One Stat You Should Know
48% of Lou Williams assists set up teammates for baskets at the rim, which is higher percentage than Deron Williams, Steve Nash, LeBron James and Chris Paul.
I'd be surprised if Lou Williams is as good offensively this year as he was last year, but if he can improve in two areas he'll more than make up for being less efficient. Area number one is defense. No one expects Lou to be a world-beater on defense, but minor improvement would be welcomed. Much like Eddie Jordan had a negative effect on every individual's defense last season, I think Doug Collins will have a positive effect this season, and hopefully he can turn Lou into an average defender.
Area number two is being less hesitant on spot-up threes. The Sixers have three above average playmakers on the perimeter, and playmakers need three-point shooters to kick the ball out to. Although Lou shot a respectable 34% from downtown last season, he hesitates and pump fakes too often when one of the playmakers sets him up for an open shot. He's also only a 32% three-point shooter for his career. Adding that dimension to his game will boost his value -- considering the roster make-up -- tremendously.
Up next: Evan Turner