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Louis Williams - Definitely not a point guard

In the first of this series, I looked at the first six seasons of Louis Williams and Allen Iverson (and missed a few things regarding rule changes) and laid out my case for why I think Louis Williams is Allen Iverson light in that he can score but doesn't bring the other factors (on either end of the court) that Allen Iverson did. Today, I want to lay out the evidence (though incomplete, I realize) as to why Louis Williams isn't a point guard and then explain how I think the Sixers should (and shouldn't) use him.

Whether or not the Sixers truly believe it or because he's only listed at 6' tall, the Sixers have used Louis Williams as a point guard and a shooting guard while he's been in Philadelphia.  The numbers presented earlier in the Iverson comparison (to me) indicate that he's less of a point guard (already) than Allen Iverson who I never really viewed as a point guard. 

However, there is one more piece of (limited) data available to us.  In construction of the rotational database (data courtesy of Brian & Derek) that you are welcome to peruse (http://www.hoopstudy.com/index.html or send me an email regarding a specific player combination you'd like to see), I tested the database with a few queries to see if the numbers came out right.  One of these tests was to see how the Sixers did with Louis Williams depending on his position on the floor.  What I saw after 7 or 8 games stuck with me so I wanted to look at it for this article.  We've got 13 games this year and Brian kindly provided me his rotational sheet from last year (for the first 57 games) that I could look at as well.

Through 13 games this season, Louis Williams averages about 22.5 minutes per game and has an overall +/- of -23 in all rotations he's played in.  Here's what happens if these numbers are broken down by position:

  • Louis Williams has played point guard for 57:29 with a net of -29
  • Louis Williams has played shooting guard for 234:58 with a net of +6

For the first 57 games of the 2009/2010 season (which I believe will end up being Louis Williams career best season):

  • Louis Williams played point guard for 905:57 with a net of +28
  • Louis Williams played shooting guard for 481:30 with a net of -35

Obviously, last years Sixer roster had a much different system and roster rotation in place.  Louis Williams was the starting point guard for a majority of the season.  Of the 57 games that Brian tracked last season, Jrue Holiday was only the starting point guard for 4 of those games and of course was still a rookie adjusting to the league (with a coach who was a fool).  In addition, last year featured the pointless Allen Iverson Homecoming experiment, which did little to help the Sixers on the floor (but might have helped Comcast's bottom line, I don't know.)

So, first off, it seems with a new (smarter?) coach and Jrue Holiday being fully given the reins of the point guard position, Louis spends a lot more time at shooting guard, and his point guard numbers are a lot worse (to date) than last season but I think I might have an explanation for that (coming later)

Next, let's look at Louis Williams shooting guard numbers with one more level of detail.  When Louis plays shooting guard, Jrue Holiday or Evan Turner is the point guard of the set:

  • Jure Holiday has been Louis's point guard for 131:42 for a net of +30
  • Evan Turner has been Louis's point guard for 103:16 for a net of -24

(In case anyone was wondering, those numbers there are the ones that jumped out to me when I was doing my testing.)

In contrast, Louis Williams has played with five different shooting guards when he played point guard this season; Iguodala, Kapono, Meeks, Nocioni and Turner, and the only PG/SG combo that has a non-negative net is with Turner, but only at +2 over 4:43

Earlier the numbers indicated that Louis Williams was more successful as a point guard in the 2009/2010 season with a net +28 in over 900 minutes of point guard play.  I didn't integrate the 2009/2010 numbers into my database but I was able to look at the various shooting guards Louis Williams played with.  Louis Williams played point guard with Royal Ivey as the shooting guard for slightly over 66 minutes and had a net +37 in those 66 minutes. 

Today (November 23rd), Doug Collins announced that Iguodala would return to the starting line up and that he would keep Evan Turner in the starting line up as well:

  • In slightly over 62 minutes, JTI has a net of -3
  • In slightly over 30 minutes, JWI has a net of +5

Conclusions - Louis Williams as point guard

Louis Williams isn't a point guard.  He may be 6' tall and skinny, but he isn't a point guard.  Lou is most successful (either at the point or shooting guard position it seems) when paired with a 'true' point guard, with a defensive tenacity.  The point guard numbers from last year with Royal Ivey and the numbers with Jrue Holiday this year indicate to me the beginning of a rather obvious trend of when Lou should be on the court.

Conclusions - Louis Williams - the player - and how best to use him

I now believe after looking at these numbers that I have a deeper appreciation of what  Williams can and can't do, and that maybe in the future, I'll be less harsh on him when he fails to do what I want him to do because maybe it's just not in his game.

Louis Williams is a scorer, he shoots a good percentage, he seems able to draw fouls and shoot a good free throw percentage.  His three-point field goal percentage isn't half bad either.  He is a strong influx of scoring off the bench when you need it.  Louis Williams isn't a point guard, he doesn't create well for his teammates, he turns the ball over a bit more than I'd like.  Louis Williams isn't a defender, he's bad at it, for lack of ability or lack of effort, I don't know but he's not a defensive plus when he's on the floor, and, in fact, it seems that he's only a net positive on the floor when paired with a strong defender in the back court.

I've presented a lot of information about Lou in these two articles but what do I think it should mean regarding the 2010/11 Sixers going forward?  I'll present that in bullet point style for ease of reading:

  • Williams should start in the back court with Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala.  If he's hot, the Sixers can start off hot, if he's not, pull him and put Turner in.  Give him the 'third quarter start' opportunity, but I think Lou needs to be handled much like Collins seems to be handling Hawes.
  • Williams should not be on the court (either at point or shooting guard) without either Jrue Holiday or Andre Iguodala (preferably both)
  • When Williams is cold, Jodie Meeks should get more of a look (no I haven't looked at his numbers, but it seems to me that if Louis's shot is off, he just shouldn't play) or someone else at least that isn't Lou
  • When he's hot, Lou should get more plays called for him because he's probably the best go-to scorer the Sixers have at that moment.


Comments as always are welcome and thanks for your indulgence (Brian and readers) for reading this far if you have.  I promise I'll get better at this sooner or later. 

by GoSixers on Nov 29 2010
Tags: Basketball | GoSixers | Lou Williams | Sixers |