Weight: 175 lbs
NBA Experience: 12 years
Key Stats: 81 games with Lakers/Rockets, 17.5 points (career-high), 3.0 assists, 42.9% FG, 36.5 % 3PT, 5.5 3PA, 24.6 MIN
Contract Status: One year remaining for $7 million. Unrestricted free agent in 2018.
Expectations: Score. Score like Jamal. Actually, score more efficiently and more prolifically than Jamal.
At 30 years old, Sweet Lou Williams may be bringing his game to the Clippers nearer to prime condition than the 32-year-old Crawford did. He also comes off a career year, at least in part. The man who has achieved a double-digit scoring average in every season since before Obama was President reached a career-high 17.5 last year. He managed 18.6 across 58 games with the Lakers before moving into a more complementary role with the weapon-laden Rockets following a midseason trade.
Lou did all that damage with less waste than ever, especially in his three-quarters of a season in purple and gold. His 3-point percentage was two-thousandths off his career best (36.7%). His 38.5% mark with the Lakers blew that away.
In imagining his new role, one doesn’t need to stretch uncomfortably to see Lou sliding into Jamal’s old sixth-man spark plug spot. Lou interrupted Jamal’s sixth man reign with his own award-winning campaign in 2014-15.
But that’s too simple. For one, Jamal got to play with Chris Paul, and Lou, well, won’t. Lou primarily looks to score, but he’s a capable table-setter. His career assist ratio is only a tick higher than Jamal’s, but with a different trend line. Jamal’s nascent career jobs asked more of his playmaking than most of his more recent roles. Lou has spent more time sliding between backcourt positions. Check out his basketball-reference page: PG, PG, PG, SG, PG, SG, PG, SG, PG, SG, SG, SG. 12 years, half of those officially listed at the point.
Lou’s new role is unknown. It’s going to depend on his backcourt partner and is likely going to change, probably more than once, maybe more than once in the same game. Put Lou next to Patrick Beverley, plant the ball in his hands, and let him run the pick and roll. It’s something similar if he’s paired with Austin Rivers, although we all know Austin’s gonna take his too. Team him with Milos Teodosic and prepare to set the court on fire. At both ends. Fun, but it’s best not to think about that one.
Projecting Lou’s role is difficult, but for the best reason: he’s versatile, much like this roster. The Clippers have used Chris Paul’s departure to construct their deepest, most democratic roster in recent memory.
In filling a (point) god-sized gap, Doc will have to call multiple numbers. When he needs a creator, he can call on Lou, like in the late-quarter possessions Clippers fans have been spoiled to watch managed competently. They don’t call them Lou-for-ones for nothing.
When Blake Griffin has the ball, which will hopefully be a lot, Doc will need shooters, and he can call on Lou again if he’s got defensive coverage on the floor. His three-point rate creeps nearer to 40% when he can catch and shoot.
Mostly though, it’ll be the in-game announcer who’ll call Lou Williams’ name. After a made basket. And another. And another.