Lou Williams: Could Lou Will End Up In Sactown?


Earlier this week RealGM reported that the Sacramento Kings were one of four teams interested in (potentially soon to be former) Toronto Raptors shooting guard Lou Williams. Williams is coming off of a Sixth Man of the Year-worthy season for Toronto in which he averaged 15.5 points per game coming off of the bench.

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There are two reasons Vlade Divac and the Kings front office could be pursuing Williams, and I’m not a huge fan of either of them. The first reason would be to bring Lou Will on as a sixth man, which seems like a good idea considering he’s a proven bench scorer.

The second reason would be to bring on Williams to replace Ben McLemore at shooting guard. I’ve written about how unsure I am of McLemore in that role, but I’d rather have him there than Williams ten times out of ten.

Lou Williams is a good scorer, but not at all an efficient one. He shot just 40 percent last season, and only made 34 percent of his three pointers despite jacking 5.6 of them per game. Not to mention he posted around two rebounds and two assists per game, which aren’t exactly meaningful contributions.

Ben McLemore2014-15218232.610.1.4374.8.358.5212.
Lou Williams2014-1528025.211.6.4045.6.340.4861.

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/19/2015.

Compare those to the far cheaper (and younger) McLemore’s numbers, and you can see that Williams scores and assists more, but that his scoring is less efficient. In only his second season McLemore managed to shoot nearly 44 percent from the field and almost 36 percent from three, both better than Lou Will.

There is an important distinction I don’t feel gets recognized enough between a shooter and a scorer, although I don’t believe McLemore cannot be both. Khris Middleton on the Milwaukee Bucks is one guy I feel like has trouble scoring sometimes, although his shooting stroke is fantastic (46.7 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from three, but just 13.4 points per game).

McLemore has been inconsistent, as most young players tend to be early in their careers, but has also shown flashes of being both a great shooter and scorer. For an entire month’s worth of games (15 in November), McLemore shot a fantastic 49 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

If he can get back to those numbers, his shooting combined with his athleticism could make him an absolutely deadly second or third offensive option (behind Boogie Cousins and Rudy Gay, most likely). So that’s why Williams shouldn’t come start in Sacramento.

But I also wouldn’t like him coming off of the bench for the Kings. Mostly because although his scoring numbers are gaudy, the 2015 postseason was a good example of when being a volume shooter can go very, very bad.

The Raptors got swept by the Washington Wizards in the first round, in large part because of Williams turning into an offensively-impaired black hole that sucked in all Toronto possessions in a five-mile radius and transported them directly to the Wizards.

Lou Will shot a terrible 31 percent from the field and an even-worse 19 percent from beyond the arc in Toronto’s four playoff contests, and despite his inability to make shots still managed to put up almost 13 of them per game, including over five long-range attempts per contest.

So although Williams had an award-winning regular season leading the Raptors second unit, that all fell apart when it mattered most and Toronto got laughed out of the playoffs. It’s not just that he had a bad series that I would like to see Divac avoid Williams, though. I just think his style of play is becoming obsolete.

So does Vlade himself, although he wasn’t talking about Lou Will in specific when he said it. In a recent Q&A with NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Vlade let some interesting philosophical ideas he holds about the modern NBA and the Kings in specific slip:

"Well, I really like the style of basketball that I used to play, starting with the Lakers, the Hornets and then the Kings — the type of basketball Golden State plays right now. I like sharing the ball. Basketball is a team game. You want to end up and make sure that every player is involved. I don’t like those East Coast types that slow down and you’ve got the one guy with the ball and two waiting around the corner like something’s going to happen. I need everybody to be involved. -Vlade Divac"

From watching a bit of Williams in the playoffs and more in the regular season, he seems like a perfect example of “the one guy with the ball” while his teammates are “waiting around the corner like something’s going to happen.”

Now I’m sure Divac was referring to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ stagnant NBA Finals offensive attack, but that description also works for Lou Will, who just so happens to play for another East Coast team in Toronto.

If Vlade’s ultimate goal is to create a ball movement orientated offense like the Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs employ, he should steer clear of Lou Will. The Kings need to do what Williams himself cannot, and pass on this one.

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