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Lou as "Iverson Light"

The thing that impresses me the most about Lou is how much he has improved over his 5+ years. Sure, that improvement has not made him a more complete player. But it has made him a more effective, efficient and dangerous player.

That track record of improvement makes me think Lou will continue on to become one of the elite scorers in this game. maybe not in terms of ppg, but in terms of TS%, fouls drawn and impact as a 6th man.

One of the things I believe after doing this study is that given the minutes / shots, Lou would be an elite PPG guy if Iverson was considered an elite PPG guy. Unfortunately, it really seems that's ALL lou brings (Part 2 will have more about that)

One thing I didn't mention, but still believe, is that Lou Williams was one of the few players who got a big boost from playing for Eddie Jordan...but what's interesting is that Lou gets 50% more FT attempts this year in 25% less minutes (so far) per game :)

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johnrosz on Nov 22 at 17:01
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In his prime Iverson had top notch conditioning. Almost freakish level conditioning. He was at full speed in the 4th quarter (after barely sitting) while opponents were worn down. He was also incredibly durable (at least in terms of playing through injury). Collins has mentioned that he felt Lou got tired in the 4th quarter at least once this year.

I think Iverson's elite level conditioning and ability to play banged up are something that can't be overlooked in any comparison.

It's not something that is quantifiable or comparable legitimately without actually knowing both players...yes Iverson was a freakish physical specimen, and Lou is skinnier, but it's not something I could quantify.

Nice work, GoSixers.

A couple quick things. I don't think it's likely Lou would've produced as much as Iverson giving the reputation/repetitions/roles simply because I don't think Lou's durable enough to play the minutes and take the pounding Iverson did, especially in the early part of the career. Iverson was pretty much the only little guy to play that style of game and stay on the floor, Lou doesn't have that same durability, in fact, he's picked up nagging injuries in spot duty and I think he's going to the rim less now because of it.

I need to look into assist rate, but I believe it's basically the percent of field goals made by your teammates when you're on the floor, not including your made field goals. So in Iverson's case, there really aren't a whole lot of made field goals to go around among the other four players when you've got a 35% usage rate yourself.

Turnover rate may also be slightly misleading, though not so much when you're comparing these two players. It's percent of total possessions used that end in turnovers. It doesn't take assists into account. So say Iverson is averaging 4 turnovers/game and using 26 other possessions (shots and FTA). His turnover rate would be 13.33%. While Steve Nash, who handles the ball just as much, turns the ball over 4 times/game, but only uses 15 possessions otherwise (FGA + FTA), his turnover percentage 21%, even though Nash is also handing out 10 assists/game. The stat is skewed to favor gunners.

It's not as big of a deal, because I consider Lou a gunner, but he wasn't as much of a gunner as Iverson. Iverson's turnover rate seems somewhat underreported to me, moreso than Lou's, if that makes sense.

Overall, though, I think it's certainly fair to say Lou is like Iverson Light, or maybe like he should play that same role on a limited basis, with a similar group of players around him to the group that supported Iverson so well when the Sixers were successful. Like if the Sixers had a really solid defensive second unit, and they'd do the dirty work while Lou carried the offense for stretches, that's something that could work. Unfortunately, the Sixers are missing the four defenders off the bench to play around Lou.

I may have misunderstood assist percentage, but this is what basketball-reference says about it:

Assist Percentage (available since the 1964-65 season in the NBA); the formula is 100 * AST / (((MP / (Tm MP / 5)) * Tm FG) - FG). Assist percentage is an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on on the floor.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/about/glossary.html

Yeah, that boils down to what I said. Percentage of teammates made field goals the player assisted on, right?

My bad, I left out the "assisted on" from my first explanation. That makes all the difference.

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Tom Moore on Nov 22 at 17:03
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Corrected link for Collins talking after Monday's practice:

http://ow.ly/3dUin

Two things about efficiency that make a direct comparison hard.

- It's often times hard to compare two players with such drastically different usage. This tends to make sense logically, as the players who are relied on more tend to be put in bad situations. A quick look at Andre Iguodala is a great example, who was at a 60% TS% when his usage rating was 14.7% his second year, then a 53.5% TS% when his usage was up at 22% last year.

- Different rules, namely hand-checking rules, make it significantly easier to both get into the lane and to get to the foul line. The hand-checking rules were changed in 2004-2005, which was after this period in Iverson's career (your period included 1996-1997 through 2001-2002). For a demonstration of the rules effect on efficiency, Iverson went from a TS% of 47.8% the year before hte rule to 53.2% the year after the rule. His first 4 years with the hand-checking rules were: 53.2%, 54.3%, 54% and 56.7%. These efficiency numbers are in-line with Lou Williams current efficiency numbers, despite the fact that Iverson was playing a significantly larger role in the offense and 5 years older than Williams currently is. It would have been interesting to see a prime, 22-28 y/o Iverson playing under the current hand-checking rules.

Not that either of these are a flaw in your research, just pointing out some things I look at when interpreting these numbers.

You know, I didn't take the handchecking change into account. At first I was going to compare Iversons entire career to Lou's career to date but that seemed unfair so i went 6 years to 6 years...thanks for pointing that out, i should look at it again...

Ah Derek said what I was thinking, but he said it more clearly and brought numbers to back it up.

The Rockets saw an increase in usage across the board from their entire roster last year. Ariza struggled. No one else did really. Overall, the players didn't struggle with that.

I don't think you can conclude most players would see a decrease in efficiency with an increase in usage. Some, yes. All? Not sure. What percentage? Not sure. And Lou? Lou doesn't seem like a guy that would struggle with a couple more shots to me...

Very good write-up, although I do think Lou and Iverson had major differences.

"Iverson took over 40% more shots than Williams, but I think one could argue that given the same amount of shots, Louis Williams would probably score as much (if not more) in overall points than Iverson did."

See if you are going strictly by stats, this is definitely true. I think that the more Lou would play, his percentages would go down. Iverson is a lot like Carmelo in the aspect that his percentages aren't as great as his reputation is, but more production has to become a factor. Iverson to me was meant to be the alpha dog taking a team's shots. I don't know what happens with Lou if he does that.

Another factor is the FT trips, and the era that both players played in. With the hand-checking rules as they are now, a young Iverson would be scary in today's league. Conversely, Lou might struggle a little more when the game was more physical. Lou is great at getting to the line, but Iverson was on a whole other level, earning every one of those trips in an era that seemed to get more physical as he went (up to about '04).

Conversely, we all know Lou is a terrible defender, but Iverson's defensive rating may have a lot to do with his teammates. That stat is very dependent on who is on the floor with you, and Iverson had 4 guys who played hard and defended for LB in those years. They were very good defensive teams towards the end of AI's first 6. Iverson's steal rate was due to an aggressive mindset on defense, but he often left teammates scrambling to cover. Lou's last two years have shown his terrible D, but being stuck on the floor with guys like Thad, Kapono, and Hawes isn't helping. I guess I'd rather have an aggressive bad defender (I've started to fancy the name 'Lazy Lou' because he really just plays a few feet off guys), but Iverson was in a much better spot.

I don't disagree with anything you've said, but as always, I can only go with what's easily available for me to look at. I can't afford synergysports access which has a lot more data available to make such a comparison ;)

What do you think Lou's career best scoring game will be?

Right now I think it's 31 against Memphis (in an 8 point last) about a year ago.

I don't believe point wise he'll ever exceed that, because, like I said, Jordan was a dream coach for Lou.

"but I think one could argue that given the same amount of shots, Louis Williams would probably score as much (if not more) in overall points than Iverson did."

Yeah, this is really like saying, you know, Andre Iguodala makes a better percentage of his shots than Iverson, so if Iguodala would only start taking 25 shots a game, he might average 40 on the season. In order to take that many shots, you really have to force the issue and take a lot of insanely difficult ones. (You also need tons of stamina.) And Iverson could make those insanely difficult attempts, while being double-teamed, which Lou would be if he was that big a focus of the offense. He isn't double-teamed now. I think Lou's efficiency would just plummet if he was used that much. The only respect, in my view, in which Lou is actually better at putting the ball in the basket, and not just shooting a higher percentage because he's used so much less, is three-point shooting. Iverson didn't really have range. Other than that, Iverson was a pretty deadly mid-range shooter and a more gifted finisher than Lou is, even with Lou's greater length and ability to get above the rim.

He's also a better free throw shooter

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kevinollie4three reply to Tray on Nov 22 at 22:54
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tray hit the nail on the head. these projections only go so far before they lose their utility. if our offense revolved around lou taking 25+ shots a game we might go .500 in the big east. people are ignoring one of iverson's best attributes - he was arguably the best dribbler in the game. his handle was incredible and allowed him to easily get by pretty much anyone whenever he wanted. lou's handle isn't even close. while he's not a deficient dribbler, he rarely a layup creates out of the triple threat. iverson did this routinely. 25+ shots for lou per game would result in way too many long twos and thus way too many missed shots. people don't double team him because its not necessary. the shots he creates aren't as good as the shots iverson created. imagine lou doing his pump fake routine at the top of the key 15 times a game. give the ball to iverson at the top of the key and he's crossing someone over. lou simply can't do that.

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deepsixersuede reply to Tray on Nov 22 at 23:53
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The durability and endurance issues are the key differences to me; I often think about them when current bigs are compared to Wilt; just to play all those minutes was a feat in itself.

Great game between Spurs/Magic tonight, anyone watching? Sean Elliott is still a huge douche.

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deepsixersuede reply to Rich on Nov 22 at 23:50
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If Popovich can pull a "Doc Rivers" and find his vets some quality rest throughout the year they may win a ring again. Splitter will be a big factor defensively when he gets healthy.It was fun watching the Duncan/Howard duel.

Pulling a 'Doc Rivers,' that's what we're calling it now, suede? Haha I thought Pop had that one patented.

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deepsixersuede reply to Rich on Nov 23 at 0:09
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Watching Stockton's son play, he looks good.

Oh man, that kid on Gonzaga is his son? I should have put that together. Yeah, he did some nice things in that game.

I think many are missing that Lou is extremely close to having Iverson on the court 25 minutes a game pretty much.

I don't think I'd go that far. I will say that Lou with the second unit is about as successful as Iverson would've been had he been surrounded by a bunch of poor defenders/rebounders, though.


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