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lou_williams_1109.jpgThis question is probably the one piece of the Sixers' puzzle that I'm having the hardest time figuring out. Last year, we saw two versions of Lou. One was a gunner who played out of control, monopolized the ball and jacked up way too many shots. When he came in, the offense frequently ground to a half. I called him Bad Lou.

The other one, Good Lou, played pressure defense, orchestrated the break and used his athleticism to set up his teammates in the half court. Good Lou wasn't afraid to take an open jumper, not in the least, but every trip down the floor wasn't an excuse to force a shot up.

Toward the end of last season we saw much more of Good Lou than Bad Lou. I thought it was Good Lou that the Sixers had signed to a five-year, $27M deal this summer. Unfortunately, that's not the Lou we've seen at all, and I'm not really sure it's entirely his fault.

Time and time again, Lou has been quoted as saying, "I'm a scorer." We've heard from Mo that he's instant offense off the bench. The idea seems to be that he's the go-to-guy among the second string. Fine, I can live with that if he's on the court with the entire second team, I suppose. With Lou, Willie, Rush, Speights and Evans out there, Lou is probably the one who should be taking the majority of the shots. Here's the problem, though. He's almost never on the court with those guys.

Lou should not be the primary option when he's on the floor with Iguodala, Brand or Thad. When he's out there with any of those guys, he absolutely must take a back seat and become a facilitator. When he's on the floor with more than one of them, it's appalling to see possession after possession go by without nary a pass.

After the jump we'll take a look at some good/bad stats for Lou.
It's extremely hard to draw too much of a conclusion from any of these stats this early in the season, but again, I'm trying to give us a baseline for how to evaluate the play of certain players, in certain situations, as the season wears on. First, we're going to take a look at how the team performs with Lou at the point. I used Basketball Value to isolate units in which Lou would play the point (If Miller or Ivey was in the lineup with Lou, then I didn't consider him as the point). Below, we'll compare the team's offensive and defensive efficiency with Lou at the point as compared to Miller at the point.

The raw numbers...

Min.Poss.Opp. Poss.Pts4PtsANet
Miller @ point330.2644638657637+20
Lou @ point110.9217226217212+5


Miller @ point1.9501.9321.0200.9891.9891.929+0.06
Lou @ point1.9572.03810.9761.9571.912+0.035

Per 36 minutes...
(The third row we'll talk about after the table)

Miller @ point70.21669.562+0.65471.63469.453+2.181
Lou @ point70.46173.383-2.92270.46168.837+1.623
Lou +265.30069.541-4.24067.84469.541-1.696

The third row shows Lou's stats when he's running the point with two scoring starters on the floor with him (Brand, Thad or Iguodala). For me, this is the biggest problem with Lou's game so far this season. When he's in there as the point, with viable options surrounding him, he isn't getting the job done. Every metric used above shows this. The disparity in possessions is a result of turnovers, for the most part. Lou isn't taking care of the ball, and he isn't moving the ball around. I included those stats to try to minimize the impact of garbage minutes on Lou's overall stats.

When he's out there with the entire second string, he's in a more-comfortable position for a "scorer off the bench," and the offense actually works better when he's taking the bulk of the shots. The problem is, he's the nominal backup point on this team, and when he's out there with the starters he's doing a good job of running the team into the ground.

Keep in mind, we're only 10 games into the season. I expect Miller to round into shape shortly, Lou, however, is a wild card at this point. If he continues to gun off the bench, he's going to wind up killing this team, especially when he's in there with Brand, Iguodala and/or Thad. Some of this has to fall on the coaching staff. It's OK to tell Lou that he's their scorer off the bench in certain circumstances, but they also have to let him know when he has to settle down and run the point.

We'll revisit these stats later in the season, let's hope the gap doesn't grow wider.

by Brian on Nov 17 2008
Tags: Andre Miller | Basketball | Lou Williams | Sixers |