1-on-1 with Lou Williams
While in Hawaii for training camp, Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell sat down with four Lakers players to talk a bit about basketball, and a bit about what those players have been up to off the court.
Highlights of the interviews, which aired on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, will appear over the next few days, continuing with Lou Williams:
MT: People may not realize that you can set up the offense, too, not just score.
LW: Yeah, I think people just go by reputation. They look at Nick (Young) by himself and say, “He’s a scorer. He’s been a sixth man on the team.” And then they look at my resume and say, “He’s a scorer.” But I’ve always played on teams with three or four guards that are interchanging parts. In Atlanta I was with Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder and even Devin Harris at the same time. You go back to my Philly days, it was me, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner. I’ve always played in offenses with interchanging parts. This offense is the same thing. You saw it in the first preseason game. I played a lot of point guard, getting guys shots, and I didn’t have a problem getting my shot off as well. I think that’s one of the things Lakers fans can look forward to: just making myself play well side by side.
MT: In Toronto you played with pass-first point guards, so is it just adjusting to what the coach wants?
LW: It’s just adjusting to whatever the coach wants you to do. Coach Scott has asked me to come in here and facilitate and be agressive on the offensive end. In Toronto I was asked to go out there and (create) action. Whatever I do, go out there and score. My role is different here, but it’s something I’ve done in the past, and it’s just knocking the dust off my point guard days and helping us win as many games as we could.
MT: How has being drafted in the 40s straight out of high school carried you through the league?
LW: It’s just a testament of hard work. I was blessed when I came into the league to have great veteran leadership; playing with A.I. (Allen Iverson) and Kevin Ollie, being coached by Aaron McKie. Having those guys in my corner just to continue to push me when I was at such a vulnerable age … when I came into the league. To still be here 11 years later, without a lot of issues or turbulence in my career — to just have a steady climb of success is just a testament to hard work.
MT: What was your experience with A.I. like?
LW: Very positive. I think he was very misunderstood with maybe some of the things that were said in the media. Then they would take it and run with it. Sometimes he just said whatever he felt, but behind closed doors he was a very competitive person that you knew whatever he did the night before or whatever he said — he was always gonna bring it 110 percent. He was always gonna be in that foxhole and compete with you. I would say his reputation was very misunderstood based on experiences that I had with him. He was a very good teammate — a very positive, outgoing guy that always kept the locker room live. He just went out there every night and play as hard as he could.
MT: What has it been like being Kobe’s teammate after playing against him for all these years?
LW: It’s about everything that I’ve expected. He has a high expectation level of his teammates just based on the way that he goes about preparing for games, the way he prepares for a season. He expects the guys to be on the same accord as he is. So that’s been a great experience for me having somebody I can look up to and can pull me to the side and give me advice. At this point in my career, I’ve been the one giving advice to the younger guys. So to have someone that can put me under their wing and say, “We should do things this way or that way,” has been a very positive experience.
MT: Has there been an example of that?
LW: Some of the screen-and-roll stuff that we have with the one and the three … I usually try to come down and make a decision as fast as I can. He was just telling me to slow down and watch how you can manipulate a defense as opposed to just doing what you’re doing and what comes naturally to you. Play more of a chess game instead of just going right away.
MT: What have you seen from Byron Scott in his relationship with guards?
LW: Our offense is very open. He puts guys in a position to make plays at the one, two, three spots. He gives his guards a lot of freedom to do just what comes natural to them. I think with the personnel that we have, that’s going to be the best situation this season.
MT: After your ACL tear, how long did it take to feel like yourself again?
LW: It took me a solid year, year and a half to just have full confidence in my knee and go out there and play basketball, not worrying about jumping, cutting, things of that nature. It probably took me about a good 18 months.
MT: What do you think about basketball in general?
LW: I love basketball. It’s still a kids’ game to me. I think that’s one of the things that’s gotten me over the hump. Whatever team I go to, I can adjust, because it’s just a kids’ game in my mind. I love hooping. I love competing. I don’t let the politics or business side get involved with it. Whenever I’m out on the basketball court, I lace up and just hoop. Whether it’s in summertime, at practice, in the games, playoffs, every time I step out on the basketball court, I approach it the same way.
MT: When did you get the sense that you could play for a career?
LW: I would probably say my second year in Philadelphia when my confidence began to build, I was holding my own and the game became easier and easier for me. I would say that was a turning point as far as my mind goes like, “Hey, this is something I could do for a very long time.”
MT: How about earlier in your life when you realized you could play in the NBA?
LW: It was probably my sophomore year of high school when I averaged 40 points a game. I was like, “I think I’m pretty good at this game.” Then you go through your high school years and senior year comes around and you start noticing pro scouts at your practices. I’m like, “I’m only like 6’1”. Is this a real thing?” Up until that point, you see the guys that came out of high school — the Kobes, LeBrons, Kevin Garnetts — these are guys that are 6’6”, 6’7”, already with the mature, grown-man build. I look at myself like: “Y’all sure y’all here for me?” I guessed it’s something that I could do; the opportunity presented itself and I’m still here today.
MT: What do you do when you’re not playing basketball?
LW: At home relaxing. I’m a country boy. I live about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta. I just sit back and enjoy time with my friends, family and two little girls.
MT: What kind of joy does having little girls bring to you?
LW: It brings all the joy. I think the coolest point is my 4-year-old realizes I’m somebody that a lot of people recognize, and my 1-year-old is starting to talk. I’ve got the best of both worlds. I’ve got one that’s starting to talk too much and one that’s starting to put words together.
MT: What do you do when you’re on the road?
LW: FaceTime. We have two FaceTime dates a day. Since I’ve been here, about 10:30 in the morning is the perfect time for me to call. My 4-year-old is getting out of pre-k and she’s getting with her sister. It’s about four or five o’clock there, so that’s the perfect time for me to call them. … My 4-year-old (and I) are having a conversation while my 1-year-old is running and snatching the phone because she hears my voice.
MT: What are you doing when you’re home with them?
LW: I’m watching Disney Channel. It’s either going to be “Frozen” or “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” I’ve seen (“Frozen”) at least five times. … I fall asleep on it a lot. But (I’ve) sat there and watched it about five times.
MT: Do you have any other hobbies?
LW: I’m pretty even keel. I sit around and just watch a lot of crime TV, stuff like that.
MT: What’s your favorite TV show of all-time?
LW: “Martin” is one of my favorites. “Scandal” is a new favorite that I’ve developed over the past couple years. “The Wire” has been off for a while. I never got into “Breaking Bad.” I never understood that one. … I watch a lot of Bill Maher. Now that I’m in L.A., I wanna meet him. … I don’t really understand politics, but the way he speaks about it makes me understand it.
MT: Do you watch a lot of basketball?
LW: I watch some basketball when I see games of teams we’re gonna play coming up. It’s hard to watch as a fan sometimes. Instead of trying to take everything off and say, “I’m just gonna watch LeBron James,” you see the plays they’re running. You’re watching the defense and how teams are rotating. It’s just hard to watch as a fan sometimes.
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