“I’m wired for the sixth man. I really embrace it.” Lou Williams
There is something to be said for everyone knowing their role. Lou Williams role is to score the ball, particularly in the 4th quarter, where he has taken 379 shots, more shots than any other quarter. Sweet Lou is the All-time leader in points for a bench player and people forget, or perhaps, they never knew Williams entered the NBA after high school and was a second round pick. He has torn his ACL. He has played for 5 NBA teams. He’s won Sixth Man of the Year twice. In back to back seasons, he is averaging 20 ppg.
This season, he’s only playing 27 minutes. He’s on pace for the fewest threes made in six years but the most free throws of his career. He’s a crafty player who gets to the rim repeatedly. Scoring is his thing. One time, he said to reporters, “I’m not being paid to play defense.”
Lou Williams is a likeable personality who also once said, “It’s okay to grow up.” He was on the Lakers then and was speaking about D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young who found themselves in the middle of a viral video scandal that was gossipy and wrecked team chemistry. On that team, one with Kobe Bryant, Williams was the voice of reason.
On the Clippers, Williams is the voice of offense. He leads the team in scoring and assists. When things are going a little bit south Williams and his offensive energy rescues the Clips and brings them back from the dead. He is an energy player and a scoring player wrapped up into one. His specialty is getting buckets and clowning everyone who thinks they can stop him.
Everything changed when Williams was a starter for the Sixers and Allen Iverson returned and pushed Williams to the bench. He didn’t pout though it took him a minute to let the resentment slide off his back. On the Sixers, he thrived coming off the bench which gave him an instant identity. Recently, he passed Dell Curry as most points from a bench player.
Most agree Williams is a professionally scorer. Celtics coach Brad Stevens reminisced about Williams. According to the story Stevens told, in high school Lou came into the game and began raining shots. “He walks in and just scores. He has a knack for it.”
A knack? No. Talent is more like it. He will most likely earn his third Sixth Man of the Year. He’s leading all bench players in points. But embracing the whole bench thing was a work in progress.
“If you think that I got to come off the bench, then I am going to put you in a position to prove you wrong. Then after a while, it was kind of fun and over the years it was my makeup.”
Williams, a McDonald All-American, and the leading scorer in Georgia high school history, was drafted at the age of 18. He’s been a pro for 14 seasons beginning with a 7 year Sixers run. In Atlanta, he tore his ACL and they gave up on him. In Toronto, he grabbed his career back but was considered a defensive liability in playoff games. The Lakers signed him in Kobe Bryant’s last season and there were plenty of Sweet Lou highlights.
He was a Laker for two seasons before Magic traded him at the deadline to the Rockets for a first round pick. At the time, it seemed like a perfect Lou Williams destination but he wasn’t allowed to play his game in Houston because James Harden dominates the ball. He returned to Los Angeles signing with the Clippers and even took less money in an extension in order to stay in town.
He’s only played 52 playoff games and this year his playoff stint is expected to be short. The Clippers are currently the 8th seed and will probably play the Warriors in a 4 or 5 game series. Doesn’t matter though. There will be plenty of Sweet Lou highlights to help the Clippers keep pace with all those Warriors scorers.
One man can’t beat Golden State but Lou William will continue getting buckets until the final buzzer sounds and the 2018-19 season is done.