If Andre Iguodala is the Sixers whipping boy among most basketball Luddites, Lou Williams clearly holds the honor among the deep-thinkers. His numbers are sort of sexy in a points-per-minute kind of way and many advanced metrics love his game, but there's something about what he does to the offensive flow that rubs people the wrong way. Let's see how he performed against my prediction.
Here's my preseason prediction. Check out the numbers below:
The raw numbers don't really tell the story with Lou. I spent a good deal of time leading the anti-Lou charge, and I had my reasons, but this season he did exactly what Doug Collins asked of him. He handled the ball, he dribbled a lot, he took a lot of shots, he scored at a decently efficient rate and he never turned the ball over. Period. End of story. On the offensive end, he did exactly what was asked of him, and he did it well.
Whether or not executing that role was a huge benefit to the team or not isn't Lou's fault or problem, and there's really not much clear evidence that it hurt the team on the floor, the lingering effects in terms of development may be an issue, though.
Lou will be 25 this October, and I think it's pretty safe to say that he is what he is at this point. With Lou running the point, the Sixers are a worse offensive team in terms of efficiency. In fact, with him on the floor at all they suffered in offensive efficiency. Playing him in this ball-dominant role puts a cap on how effective the offense can be and I don't like it as a regular thing going forward. They need to find someone who can run the actual offense when Jrue isn't in the game. That guy may be Turner, may not be. Maybe they need to stagger Iguodala's minutes with Jrue so one of them can be on the floor to run the show at all times. I'm not sure what the solution is, but they need to move away from the Lou show going forward in my opinion.
Lou can stay or go as far as I'm concerned. He's a nice security blanket, a guy who can heat up when the team hits a dry spell and his scoring spurts can absolutely swing a game, but he's more likely to be ice cold and dig the hole deeper. I love how much he gets to the line and I love how rarely he turns the ball over, but I think you can probably fill his role for the money he's making in most off seasons. If moving him helps you get a needed asset, by all means move him.
Here's a fun stat for you from Synergy:
- Lou averaged 0.92 points-per-possession on 232 isolation plays this season (including post season)
- Jrue averaged 0.97 points-per-possession on 216 isolation plays this season (including post season
Jrue turned the ball over at a higher rate in those situations (11.6% to 6.9% for Lou), and Lou got to the line more in those situations (15.5% for Lou to 6% for Lou) and those numbers are factored in here. Jrue was still more efficient. Something to keep in mind next season if/when Lou gets the ball on an iso to end a quarter or a game. Another fun stat, Iguodala was better in spot-up situations than both Lou and Jrue.