Atlanta Hawks: Finding a good fit for Lou Williams

Lou Williams (Photo: Scott Cunningham, NBAE/Getty Images)

New team, good fit? (Photo: Scott Cunningham, NBAE/Getty Images)

The Hawks will have to work out the Jeff Teague-Devin Harris backcourt (assuming it stays that way if/when Danny Ferry is done making trades). They need a true wing player, too.

But I’m most intrigued to see how Lou Williams fits. He’s a very effective scorer but, if he’s going to remain in a role similar to the one he filled in Philly, he may need to play alongside either Harris or Teague.

“I was off the ball [in Philadelphia], I would prefer to be off the ball, and I think both of those guys [Teague and Harris] are on the ball,” Williams said. “So I don’t think it will be an issue as much as people think it is. Once we open up camp I’m sure Coach [Larry] Drew will do a good job in figuring out where everyone is going to go.”

I can’t see any reason why the Hawks would want Williams to change up his game. What’s not to like?

For three seasons Williams was the best kind of bench scorer for the Sixers: high usage, high production and good-to-reasonable efficiency while playing just 26.3 minutes per game. He did all of that while helping the Sixers defensively.

Williams is aggressive and quick, which should help the Hawks play faster. He’s tough and fearless. Heck, Williams even has pretty good flow on the mic.

But he’s better making something happen off the dribble.

“More attacking than catch-and-shoot,” Williams said. “Actually catch-and-shoot is one of the things I’ve been able to work on this whole summer. Coming down in transition and catching the ball and shooting, instead of catching and trying to create so much off the dribble.”

Williams may prefer to play off the ball but it’s not as if he can’t play the point.

According to Synergy Sports Technology, Williams used 30 percent of his possessions in 2011-12 as the screen-roll ballhandler and scored .94 points per possession (19th in the league) while drawing fouls 11 percent of the time on those plays. Last season, screen-roll ballhandler was Williams’ most-frequent play type used and second-most efficient behind spot-ups (12 percent of possessions used, .96 points per possession). Williams posted similar numbers in 2010-11 and 2009-10.

Williams’ career assist rate is low (though higher than Joe Johnson’s) but his turnover rate is ridiculously low. That’s particularly impressive because of Williams’ willingness to create contact; not many guards get to the free-throw line as effectively as Williams, and he’s made free throws at better than 81 percent for three consecutive seasons.

Williams said he patterned his game after former Sixers teammate Allen Iverson.

“The whole time you are in the game be aggressive and don’t take plays off,” Williams said. “I think that’s one of the things I learned from A.I. Watching him, he didn’t take plays off. He always took contact, initiated it and he didn’t shy away from it being a small guard.”

Williams also attributes his foul magnetism to a nifty ball fake: “I got that from Andre Miller. He’s got one of the best pump fakes in the world.”

Perhaps Williams can run the point for the second unit and just focus on scoring. As mentioned, he’s very effective playing off screens and he’s also a very good isolation player: his Synergy efficiency league ranks on those plays the past three seasons were 61st, 49th, and 30th. Williams’ isolations aren’t the ball-stopping kind.

If Williams plays more minutes for the Hawks than he did for the Sixers, it will be interesting to see if he can remain an efficient, impact scorer even with a lower usage rate (probable if he plays a lot of minutes with the starters).

“In the past, in Philadelphia my role was to come in the game and just light it up and score as many points as I possibly could,” Williams said. “Talking to Coach Drew and talking to Danny I think my role will be similar, if not increased. Obviously you have Devin [and] you have Jeff, who are very talented guards, and then you add myself into that mode.

“I have always been a team player, a team guy. I don’t plan on coming in here competing with these guys negatively. I think we all can contribute.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

256 comments Add your comment

MikeH

August 22nd, 2012
1:06 pm

MsDee

August 22nd, 2012
1:18 pm

I think he will fit just fine!!

Comet

August 22nd, 2012
1:24 pm

Welcome home, Lou!

MsDee

August 22nd, 2012
1:29 pm

Have we ever considered Kelenna Azubuike from the Cavs? Sure he has been bang up a little but DANG, he sure is a cutie pie!! Really nice eye candy in a Hawks jersey!!

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
1:31 pm

http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2012/8/21/3258283/atlanta-hawks-2-seed-next-year-says-basketball-prospectus-espn

Here’s a very interesting and surprising take on the Hawks 2012-2013 projected seeding.

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
1:38 pm

Wow! Once again I end up reading an article that totally debunks the OPINIONS of most fans concerning one of our newly acquired backcourt players DEF abilities. First it was DHarris, and now it’s LWilliams. Actually, it was our resident loudmouths who were predicting layup central because of what they felt would be a very porus perimeter DEF.

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
1:42 pm

http://netsarescorching.com/2010/10/15/scouting-report-anthony-morrow/

Here’s Anthony Morrow’s scouting report, which shows he’s not the DEF liability that some have insisted on believing.

jgsbirds

August 22nd, 2012
1:44 pm

looks good in the uni! i’m ready to get this season rolling!

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
1:57 pm

Enter your comments here

doc

August 22nd, 2012
2:00 pm

like this williams. seems he is smart and a student of the game always looking to others to teach him. wish our last williams could have been i the same mold. never heard him ever say what he was working on or who he watched except movies, video games with his cousin and admitting he never watched basketball. also dont be so quick on saying these guards cant guard too. devin at one time pressured well, we have seen what teague can do when motivated and now the implication is this williams wasnt a dud on the defensive end either. read aslo what ken posted on morrow. also korver wasnt a slouch playing defense under thibs and seemed to take more pride in it.

recommend highly folks go to 790 zone and hear the interview with danny ferry. he is very candid about his goals and aspirations and what he will be emphasizing. the philosophy is going to be smart and take all information into consideration. he is very quick to say they will be using analytics, have hired folks to help them interpret it better and that none of that existed in the past regimes of the deadheads that ran the organization by the seats of their pants and luck. he also is quick to say basketball is changing and with it teams have to be athletic and flexible. he didnt seem scared with the shorter nature of his team, saying that maybe they can use it as an advantage. the computer match up potentials are going to be looked at closely and tested. i would post it for you guys but it is a long three part interview of close to thirty minutes.

as an aside a little concerned that we havent heard more from our surprise finding last year. hope he is upping his game and will come in stronger and leaner after signing his contract to play here again. need his grill on the court.

doc

August 22nd, 2012
2:05 pm

of course i was referring to our remaining johnson, ivan the terrible.

any word or contact from him MC?

Big Ray

August 22nd, 2012
2:14 pm

1) Agreed with everything Doc said.

2) I don’t trust Larry Drew to get it right with this many guys who can play point guard. That’s all I’m going to say on that right now.

3) Danny Ferry is a Godsend.

4) I wonder if we’ll add another wing player (SF) not named Pape Sy?

doc

August 22nd, 2012
2:17 pm

br still have some folks carrying the candle for pape. never understood that one from the get go nir the fan acceptance of the stupidity. definitely one of the low lights of the past two regimes BD. heh heh

[...] he tells the Atlanta Journal Consitituon he hopes to work more off the ball for the Hawks. “I was off the ball [in Philadelphia], I would [...]

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
2:29 pm

DHUNT/OBRIEN-According to a link I posted on the last blog, DHarris is capable of delivering near All NBA type of DEF. His scouting report also rated his DEF very highly. This is a direct contradiction to what you have been posting and worrying about. If DHarris gives us anything close to the All NBA caliber DEF his scouting report says he’s capable of delivering, along with what JTeague is capable of, how can you say we’ll miss JJs DEF?

Even LWilliams’ scouting report says he’s aggressive and not afraid to play DEF, which means he isn’t the DEF liability some seem to think. In AMorrow and KKorver, we have what could be the NBAs 2 best 3pt shooters. And their ability to be used at SG and SF increases their effectiveness. We’ll have a backcourt that will feature 2 of the NBAs quickest and fastest players, and 2 of the NBAs best 3pt shooters.

I don’t see our perimeter DEF losing much defensively, if anything at all, without JJ. Their presence will improve our penetrating ability, FT attempts, fastbreak pts, speed, quickness, and athleticism, without hurting our perimeter DEF. Their lack of ideal height will have more of an effect on them being posted up than anything else, and that’s when TEAM/HELP DEF comes into play.

No more clearouts so JJ can run the clock down pounding the ball only to end up going 1 or 5 and shooting a floater, while drawing no fouls. This yrs Hawks don’t need JJ or any other individual player carry it, because this yrs team has the talent, versatility, and depth to carry itself.

coachx

August 22nd, 2012
2:34 pm

Welcome home LW !

We are proud to have you as a Hawk and glad you turned out to be such a mature and well spoken young man. Will never forget watching you an Mercer light it up at SG.

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
2:37 pm

DOC/BIG RAY-It wouldn’t surprise me to see DFerry do a trade for SF AGee, unless he has his eye on a higher profile SF in next yrs FA class. With a player like Gee, who’s good at everything but not outstanding at any one thing, he might be looking at a longterm contract more than a high dollar one.

Rod from College Park

August 22nd, 2012
2:46 pm

“In the past, in Philadelphia my role was to come in the game and just light it up and score as many points as I possibly could,” Williams said. “Talking to Coach Drew and talking to Danny I think my role will be similar, if not increased.”

There you have it folks. His role has been to come off the bench and score as many oints as he can. Sounds familar doesn’t it. Some idiots on this blog don’t seem to understand that if your role on the team is to come in and score, then bad shots will be taken. Anyone who did not like Jamal will not like Lou Williams. I am a big fan of Lou, but I don’t care what any scounting report or numbers say, he defense is no better than Jamal. He is very quick, so he will come up with some steals, but he does not keep guys in front of him defensively, and sometimes gives up just as much as he gets. It is what it is. Very good offensively, streaky, but defensively is below average.

drmaryb .("_*).

August 22nd, 2012
2:59 pm

So sad we got this SCRUB. TRAGIC!!

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
3:03 pm

ROD FROM CP-A number of states now allow same sex marriages, so you can legally approach your beloved Jamal Crawford and ask for his hand in marriage.

doc

August 22nd, 2012
3:08 pm

rod, i can only hope the dont do to williams what they did to jamal which was to try and make a point guard out of him. also this scorer doesnt look like a matador on defense like jamal who was purely only interested in one side of the ball.

ignition

August 22nd, 2012
3:11 pm

Dude should rap more….
Probably will now that he is back in the A

steven a smith

August 22nd, 2012
3:14 pm

Jamal Crawford was an excellent shooting guard during his stay in Atlanta. Much better than Morrow, Stephenson, and Jenkins. Lou Williams is a point guard. Call him what you like, he is a point guard.

Anal minded again

August 22nd, 2012
3:18 pm

Enter your comments here

Bravesfan79

August 22nd, 2012
3:22 pm

Am i the only one who thinks that starting Morrow at the 3 spot wouldnt be the worst idea in the world? Morrow would easily be the best shooter in the league at the SF spot. And his defence isnt as bad as some think. The Heat won alot of games and a title playing small ball, why cant the Hawks?

cpsman_atlanta

August 22nd, 2012
3:23 pm

Too bad he’ll never win in Atlanta as long as Atlanta $pirit Group is in charge. Can someone go tell these bozos to sell the team, so we can get hockey back at Philips Arena. BOYCOTT ATLANTA $PIRIT GROUP. I BELIEVE IN BLUELAND!!!

KevinM

August 22nd, 2012
3:33 pm

MC, I took a minute to look up these FT stats for Joe and Lou, who we all know will get the bulk of the minutes at the 2:

Joe
2010-11 35.5 mpg .802 FT% 195-243
2011-12 35.5 mpg .849 FT% 158-186

Lou
2010-11 23.3 mpg .823 FT% 243-356
2011-12 26.3 mpg .812 FT% 237-292

Those are some incredible differences between the 2. That’s Lou getting 219 more FTA than Joe in 10mpg less. That is a telling stat about the games of these 2. I think we benefit greatly from Lou than what Joe gave us. You give Lou 35.5 mpg…….could he get Iverson type nimbers? He can definitely match Joe’s production.
I say its quite possible and AI was never known for defense, much less ‘practice’.

We could go into camp this year without Korver and Morrow and Lou and Jenkins and some Devin could hold down the 2 slot.

And does anyone realize what guy could really improve our team? I think its Shawn Marion, but he’s got 2 more years at 17M. Did anyone realize he came in 8th in DPOY voting?

Tyson Chandler New York 45 25 11 311
Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City 41 24 17 294
Dwight Howard Orlando 18 23 27 186
LeBron James Miami 7 19 20 112
Kevin Garnett Boston 2 9 7 44
Tony Allen Memphis 4 3 7 36
Andre Iguodala Philadelphia 1 7 7 33
Shawn Marion Dallas 2 2 1 17
Luol Deng Chicago 1 2 5 16
Josh Smith Atlanta 0 2 3 9
Joakim Noah Chicago 0 2 0 6
Marc Gasol Memphis 0 1 2 5
Chris Paul L.A. Clippers 0 1 2 5
Avery Bradley Boston 0 0 2 2
Mike Conley Memphis 0 0 2 2
Grant Hill Phoenix 0 0 2 2
Iman Shumpert New York 0 0 2 2
Greg Monroe Detroit 0 0 1 1
Dwyane Wade Miami 0 0 1 1
Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City 0 0 1 1

All the votes with 1st/2nd/3rd place/total and Marion picks up 2 1st place votes. It tells you how much respect he gets in the league and he topped Josh this year.
I think he could fit in quite nicely on this team should Dallas think they need a SG or a Petro as a backup C.

For those who look at the guys we got from the nYets, we wouldn’t lose much if none of them weren’t on the roster.

JTO

August 22nd, 2012
3:43 pm

@MC, Doc, Ken Strickland:
Everyone keeps mentioning the need for a defensive minded wing/sf. What about Josh Childress? How do you think that he would fit here if he came back? He is defensive minded and willing to be a roll type player while still being quite young.

The Truth

August 22nd, 2012
4:01 pm

This roster featuring another “home-town” player (Lou) is certainly positive and will no-doubt energize Phillips. Let’s call it the Highlight Factory Featuring “J Smoove and Boyz Show”. Serious though, this roster could be a “fun-bunch” playing the under-dog role if we can avoid the temptation of lofty expectations.

To acquire Gee as a RFA, Danny would have to bid for him above his QO and hope Cleveland doesn’t match. I didn’t get an impression from Danny that he’s willing to risk his “flexibility” on another 6’-6” guard like Alonzo Gee via trade or FA acquisition. Since Danny has already tipped his hat at the type of SF is looking for (6’-10” Anthony Randolph), you’ll have to assume he’s interested in this type.

Unless the camp outcome surprises us, the best option for a SF starter (at this point) will be Josh Smith which should open up a roster spot for Mike Scott unless he’s beaten out by a camp invitee who’s willing to accept a non-guaranteed contract. Assuming Ivan sign and Benson is picked-up, the roster is complete.

i_am_soulstar

August 22nd, 2012
4:04 pm

So excited to see this team. Looking forward to whenever the open practice will be this year.

Melvin

August 22nd, 2012
4:08 pm

I like Lou’s attitude…

“I have always been a team player, a team guy. I don’t plan on coming in here competing with these guys negatively. I think we all can contribute.”

Just Joe

August 22nd, 2012
4:08 pm

Morrow has been in the league for 4 years, and his shooting %’s have dropped each of the last 3 years. It looks like backup SG should be his position. Golden State figured this out after trying him as a starter, and so did the Nets, who also tried him as a starter. Maybe he finally gets it together at 27 yrs old, since he’s returning to Atlanta, but I’m not sure it will happen. With the drafting of Jenkins, he might only get a few months to prove himself before becoming trade bait. He’ll get an opportunity just like the other 6 guards we have on our roster.

MsDee

August 22nd, 2012
4:17 pm

I sure hope Lou could record some lyrics for Philips Arena cause ATL is dying for some hype music!! Would be great if we could run out to a couple of hype music from him!!

KBP

August 22nd, 2012
4:22 pm

Stephen A. . . . What is it about Lou’s game that says he is a PG? He plays the same style now that he did in high school – Primarily a scorer, much more than a facilitator/distributor. He is a SG trapped in a PG body. Every game I have seen him play, not once did I get the impression his main focus was setting his teammates up? By the fact he prefers playing off the ball states what he believes he is best at.

Astro Joe

August 22nd, 2012
4:25 pm

Big Ray, considering that Harris, Teague and Lou have more similarities than not, will there be a bad way to deploy these similarly skilled players? Personally, I’m ready for July, 2013.

Rod from College Park

August 22nd, 2012
4:30 pm

“rod, i can only hope the dont do to williams what they did to jamal which was to try and make a point guard out of him. also this scorer doesnt look like a matador on defense like jamal who was purely only interested in one side of the ball.”

Same coach, same results. Drew will try to play him as a point guard because that is what he did with Jamal. Again you obviously have not watched Lou Williams play if you think he is a good defensive player. Ask any Philly fan, they will let you know. Watched him since high school, and defense is not his strong suit. He is a scorer (SG) in a point guard body. I totally agree with KBP.

Rod from College Park

August 22nd, 2012
4:37 pm

“ROD FROM CP-A number of states now allow same sex marriages, so you can legally approach your beloved Jamal Crawford and ask for his hand in marriage.”

While I would never go there usually, I really don’t do the same sex thing being a straight male who loves women. So since you decided to go there, lets go. Maybe you should stop focusing on making another man be gay and worry about if you will ever be able to satisfy a woman again. Prostate cancer usually has some serious side affects in that regard.

brigadierjerry

August 22nd, 2012
4:54 pm

lou williams having watched a lot of him since i live up north is not a pg.he is good at drawing fouls with his head fake. he can bring the ball up the court. he is streaky like crawford is but a little more under control. his defense is average.

my biggest fear is ld playing lou extensive minutes trying at pg is a recipe for disaster.

vava, ur post on breakdown on types of centers from previous blog was very good

Luke Cage

August 22nd, 2012
5:00 pm

SWEET CHRISTMAS!!!

brigadierjerry

August 22nd, 2012
5:02 pm

i think the hawks will try and trade for sf if not they should look at:

pitreus
damion wikens
shawne williams

also like austin daye

they should sign ivan and get a 3rd string backup center i.e. benson and get ready to go to start season

Luke Cage

August 22nd, 2012
5:02 pm

Hawks got a gem in Lou, still need a Defensive minded player at SF

pointguardslim

August 22nd, 2012
5:11 pm

brigadierjerry Lou Williams guards point guards. So Hawks have some thinking to do on this one at least vs playoff caliber big guards. Maybe some sort of a zone? Maybe Lou steps up?

We’ll see but from here it looks like a bad fit if he can’t d up. I’m looking at his footage and he really played point guard if you are who u can guard, that is.

brigadierjerry

August 22nd, 2012
5:16 pm

pgs,

whats up?i know lou can guard pg but i dont want him running the offense. sounds crazy but if harris isnt traded, i can see ld trying to run a 3 guard offense at times. what backup center do u want and would take a pitreus or shawne williams who can play sf as a sf?

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
5:18 pm

JTO-it’s always possible. After all, Ferry did say that an option would be to sign someone at the minimum, and Childress just might be willing to accept that for a chance to start again. Having a successful yr as a starter on a 1yr contract would certainly give him a good chance of signing a multi yr contract for more money.

I’d either match or slightly exceed Cleveland’s offer to Gee and see if he’ll pull a JJ and want to get out of Cleveland and play for a team that will be decidedly better. Nothing lost but a try. However, if Ferry has his sights set on a 2012-13 FA SF, then a Childress like deal would be the smart move.

We could end up starting someone like Morrow or Korver at SF, and then move Josh over when matchups dictate. I even like the idea of using IJohnson in that role better, since he definitely has some seriously quick feet, and there are very few SFs that could handle him physically. That move would also allow us to keep our best help defender and shotblocker near the basket @ PF.

prison mike

August 22nd, 2012
5:47 pm

We will flip KK for a team desperate for shooting and the team may be Cleveland. I’ll take Casspi and a filler.

AG

August 22nd, 2012
6:06 pm

I would like another SF – but I agree with Ken, starting Ivan will help us with our size and defense. I like the idea of starting Lou – not bringing him off the bench. The bench will have Harris, Korver and Morrow – but certainly want Jenkins to get some run. If LD really coaches, although he will have a very deep team, he will (should) go only 9 per game.

Starters Bench
PG – Teague Harris
SG – Williams Harris/Morrow
SF – Johnson Morrow/Korver
PF – Smith Horford
C- Horford ZaZa

Ken Strickland

August 22nd, 2012
6:33 pm

AG-I wasn’t suggesting that we make IJohnson our starting SF, just use him at that position when we encounter SFs like LeBron James, who can simply overpower someone like AMorrow or KKorver. I do remember reading a couple of articles shortly after the draft that suggested we take a good long look at Scott as a possible SF candidate.

He has the OFF and shooting touch to play the position, and he’s about the same size as JJ, but more athletic. He’s also a much, much better rebounder than JJ, but he might not be as good defensively, nor have JJs range. But otherwise, he might be able to more than get the job done. That move wouldn’t cost us any additional cap space and would negate the need to trade for a SF. SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?

AG

August 22nd, 2012
6:37 pm

No – not very impressed with him in the Summer Leagues. He is a tween er and I almost agree with Chris Webber – those players just are not good NBA players. Ivan is stronger, more polished than Scott. For those who worry about defense, starting Ivan is not bad. My question is why do we want Lou coming off the bench?

vava74

August 22nd, 2012
6:44 pm

brigadierjerry,

Thanks!

I did forget Monroe, who has a nifty offensive game and may also become a top grade C like cousins if he stabilises his game and starts to play D

steven a smith

August 22nd, 2012
6:52 pm

KBP

August 22nd, 2012
4:22 pm

Stephen A. . . . What is it about Lou’s game that says he is a PG? He plays the same style now that he did in high school – Primarily a scorer, much more than a facilitator/distributor

He has to learn the positon. He has too much value not to start. He will learn to limit his shots. He is too small to guard shooting guards in this league. Alan Iverson was not a traditional PG, and he did not do to bad?