Season Review: Lou Williams
Lucas Armstrong/Atlanta Hawks
Note: We use stats per 36 minutes instead of stats per game on the graphics. The reason behind that is stats per 36 tell a more complete story of how a player did while he was on the court, as opposed to per game stats which averages a player’s stats based on the number of games that player appeared in, regardless of how many minutes he played. The per 36 minutes compares all players equally by taking the minutes played out of the equation to measure the most effective players during their time on the court.
Still recovering from a torn ACL, Lou Williams’ 2013-14 season did not begin until Nov. 15 when he debuted against the 76ers, scoring seven points in a Hawks win. His season had plenty of ups-and-downs as he worked his way back into form after the first major injury of his career. He finished the season averaging 10.4 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game on 40 percent shooting (34.2% from three).
By his own admission at exit interviews, WIlliams felt he was lagging behind early in the season because he had not gotten the opportunity to work in Coach Bud’s system in training camp and practices because of his rehab, and he admitted that it affected his play.
Williams showed flashes of his old self in December, as he scored 25+ points three times, including a season-high 28 points in a win over the Bobcats. In those games he was attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line, and showing that burst that we hadn’t seen since the injury. He had the bounce and rhythm to his game that made him such a dynamic offensive player prior to the injury, which was an encouraging sign.
In February, as the team was decimated by injuries and hitting its worst losing streak of the season, Williams had to play a bigger role in the team’s offense because they lacked scorers. He had seven consecutive double-digit scoring games in the end of Feburary and beginning of March, but the team continued to struggle. Williams' season reached it’s low point when he was benched for seven straight games in March, as the team was getting healthier and Coach Bud tried to re-work his rotations to achieve a different result -- something he was successful with as they won five straight during that stretch.
He would be called on again, and he responded with some big performances down the stretch of the season to help the Hawks clinch a playoff berth. One of Williams’ best games came against the Heat in April, when he had 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting (4-of-4 from three) to help the Hawks clinch a playoff spot.
Williams season was a bit of a roller coaster, but towards the end of the year he seemed to be grasping the concepts Coach Bud wanted him to on both ends of the floor. He seemed more active on defense, did well facilitating on offense, and was active on the boards -- something Bud wants to see out of his wing players.
Story by Robby Kalland