Atlanta Hawks: Williams wants to remain a starter

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Vivlamore reporting.

The way Lou Williams has played since being inserted in the Hawks starting lineup would certainly make it difficult for them to send out a unit that doesn’t include the guard.

Williams would like to keep it that way.

Just consider the results. The Hawks have won the past four games since inserting Williams as the starting shooting guard. He has a combined 71 points (26 of 55 shooting, .473), including 12 3-pointers, 26 assists and 20 rebounds. A career-high 12 of those assists came in Saturday’s victory over the Pacers in which Williams recorded his first career points-assists double-double.

“I feel good about our offense,” Williams said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to start. Anything I can do to keep that position.”

Williams, who signed with the Hawks as a free agent this summer, spent much of first seven seasons coming off the bench for the 76ers. He had previously played 173 straight career games, dating back to March 14, 2010, before getting the start against the Bulls last week. That’s more than two full NBA seasons. He missed a game March 15 due to back spasms and then came off the bench every game from March 17, 2010 until Dec. 22, 2012.

Last season, Williams led the 76ers in scoring despite not starting a game and was runner-up for the NBA’s Sixth Man Award.

Williams came off the bench the first 24 games this season for the Hawks (19-9). He is third on the team in scoring average (14.8) behind only Josh Smith (16.6) and Al Horford (15.8).

“I’m having success there,” Williams said of his starting role. “I’m in my eighth year. The last time I started was 2010 and that was a job I lost to injury instead of how I was actually playing. To not get that position back for two more seasons is different for me.

“But like I’ve said, I’m happy about the opportunity I have here. I understand that we mix up the lineups here as well so there can be games where I’m not starting or I am starting. Whatever it is, we are being successful right now. It’s bigger than me. It’s a team effort. I play a team sport and that’s all it’s about.”

Hawks coach Larry Drew said he hesitated about keeping the 6-foot-1Williams in the starting lineup because of the defensive assignments he drew during the win streak. Against the Bulls he matched up with 6-5 Marco Belinelli, against the Pistons the 6-8 Kyle Singler, against the Cavaliers the 6-4 Dion Waiters and against the Pacers the 6-5 Lance Stephenson. In the end, Drew decided to use Williams’ speed and quickness over a height disadvantage.

Williams has played both point and shooting guards for the Hawks this season. It has taken some time to learn and get comfortable with both positions in an entirely new system.

“That is what makes it a little difficult at times, him knowing exactly where he is supposed to be, the timing of different things,” Drew said. “… We knew we were giving up something in (height) but we wanted to combat that with Lou’s speed, Lou’s quickness, running him off screens, keeping him active and involved. You can see he’s gotten more and more comfortable with everything we do.”

Williams is shooting 44.4 percent (12 of 27) from 3-point range in his four starts. In the previous 24 games, he shot 33.6 percent (39 of 116) from long range. As a team, the Hawks have gone three straight games with 10 or more 3-pointers made. The last time they did that was April 15-19, 1997.

The Hawks will play at the Rockets on Monday. They will try to avenge their season-opening loss which was part of a 3-4 start. Since those first seven games, the Hawks are 16-5. They are third in the Eastern Conference with a .679 winning percentage, just a game behind the Heat (.714) and the Knicks (.700), who have played two more games.

- Chris Vivlamore

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* Johnson doubtful vs. Cavs with stomach illness

* Drew speaks to Teague about energy level

* Hawks 126, Pistons 119 (2OT)

* Williams remains in starting lineup

* Is Josh Smith an All-Star?

* Hawks 92, Bulls 75

* Williams to start vs. Bulls

* Sixers 99, Hawks 80

* Harris out vs. Sixers

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @AJCHAWKS

46 comments Add your comment

glw

December 30th, 2012
10:38 am

I can understand Lou wanting to remain a starter. It assures X amount of minutes per game. As a reserve, his minutes were inconsistent and tended to come according to how he is playing. Of course, the big thing will be that as it get closer to playoffs teams will try to exploit him defensively

Johnny

December 30th, 2012
10:42 am

Keep him in the starting lineup. Then, when healthy, bring Harris of the bench for the pg and John for the 2. on the other hand i would love to see Zaza remaining as a starter and go with Josh at the 3 and korver play the 2. i think I would prefer playing Lou. His chemistry with Al was also great against the Pacers.

Rico Niles

December 30th, 2012
10:44 am

Keep him as a Starter and sign him long-term. Do not assume that because he came off the bench means that is what he wanted. he is a team player and never complained about coming off the bench. Now reward him with a starting job that is not changing anytime soon.

SAS

December 30th, 2012
10:50 am

second…
His starting position will depend on match ups.
I like the new Hawks,they play smart and they are having fun on the court. it shows

real hawk fan

December 30th, 2012
10:51 am

http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=aoreyrs here is a trade i would love but i dont think the Jazz will take on more Hawks bums

SAS

December 30th, 2012
10:56 am

real hawk fan, that trade would never ever happened because Ferry actually has a basketball brain, same can not be said about you. Sorry.

heat check

December 30th, 2012
11:02 am

Lou is going to get his 25-30min regardless, so this is more of a team chemistry situation. I don’t care if he’s starting or coming off the bench, but if he can find the open man even remotely like he did last night then Devin Harris won’t be a Hawk by the end of the season. Gotta get Jenkins into the guard rotation by any means necessary.

myrak43

December 30th, 2012
11:02 am

Josh Childress…………. the nets waive him….. do you all believe he could help us out?

I believe he would be our best option at defending the SF.

and Rico Niles @December 30th, 2012 10:44 am Lou is already signed to a long term contract.

myrak43

December 30th, 2012
11:02 am

Josh Childress…………. the nets waive him….. do you all believe he could help us out?

I believe he would be our best option at defending the SF.

and Rico Niles @December 30th, 2012 10:44 am Lou is already signed to a long term contract.

myrak43

December 30th, 2012
11:05 am

maybe we could send Devin Harris to Toronto for Bargnani.

doc

December 30th, 2012
11:07 am

no! josh childress cannot help us.

Ken Strickland

December 30th, 2012
11:20 am

I’ve read a number of comments that said Zaza was the NBAs best backup center, and I agree. To be honest, I’d take Zaza over a number of starting NBA centers. Teams don’t know who to prepare for when playing the Hawks.

They have to consider the OFF damage Josh, Horford, Williams, Korver, and Teague can do on any given night, and now they might have to add JJenkins to the mix. Finding mins for Jenkins isn’t difficult for LD to do. LDs problem is overcoming his rookie bias and finding the willingness to do it.

Drew needs to start playing Jenkins a lot more. He’s a pure SG with size, compared to the undersized players he’s been playing at SG. Our guard rotation, when everyone is healthy, should be
SG LWilliams/JJenkins
PG JTeague/DHarris

While KKorver has done a decent job at SF, we need to bring in a bigger, stronger version of DStevenson as a backup SF. Last nights gm proved that height isn’t all there is to being an effective center. Zaza literally abused Hibbert. I can’t remember his name, but their backup center had to score all of his pts on outside shots.

With quick, fast, athletic and/or mobile players like LWilliams, KKorver, JJenkins, JTeague and DHarris, our players definitely don’t spend time standing around on clearouts like they did with ISO JOE. We’re definitely a jumpshooting team that lives and dies by the jumpshot. If LDrew commits to giving JJenkins more mins, it will lessen the likelihood of us suffering scoring droughts.

keith

December 30th, 2012
11:23 am

BRING JOSH OFF THE BENCH???

I love the Idea of starting Lou Williams. The line-up we had on the floor last night was possibly, the BEST POSSIBLE STARTING 5 FOR US going forward…I also think that ZAZA should start for the remainder of this season….Bring Josh Smith off the Bench???

keith

December 30th, 2012
11:29 am

SIGN JOSH CHILDRESS NOW!!!

We should pick up Josh Childress and waive “Scrub Tolliver” as soon as possible….Josh Childress is a solid defender with an outstanding Basketball IQ…The guy went to Stanford, which means he’s pretty smart too!!!

real hawk fan

December 30th, 2012
12:13 pm

@SAS they both avg 20 a game more than AL and Josh both over rated

Grandmaster JeJe

December 30th, 2012
12:20 pm

Keith,

Basketball IQ doesn’t exist… Ask our resident expert Rod from College Park

Ken Strickland

December 30th, 2012
12:32 pm

KEITH-Stop over reacting. We won’t be a better team with Josh coming off the bench. How can you rationalize the idea that we’ll become a better team by benching Josh, who’s 2nd in rebounding, assists, and 1st in scoring and shotblocker?

Don’t get carried away and allow this one gm to give you the impression that we can expect this type of production from Zaza on a consistent basis. You seem to forget that he was our starting center after Horford went down in gm 11.

Last yr’s production is far more indicative of what we can expect from him. And least you forget, his production, while acceptable, weren’t up to the standards set by Horford or Josh in any major category. We’re a better team with Josh starting and Zaza coming off the bench, along with Ivan.

High-sider

December 30th, 2012
12:52 pm

keith,

Do you want Josh (Smith) to be a (2012 – 2013) SMOY candidate? It might be a little (bit) too late (for Josh “to make a run” at this season’s SMOY award) [LOL]. Rod from College Park will (probably) tell you that it makes (absolutely) no sense at all to bring the (Hawks) team’s best defensive player (Josh Smith) off the bench.

mr clarion

December 30th, 2012
12:52 pm

After reading the title to the article, I thought I was going to read quotes where Williams was adamant about wanting to start, instead he seems to be just hungry for more consistent minutes on the court.

Duluth Joe

December 30th, 2012
12:57 pm

Ken, I agree. Hawks are a better team with Josh in lineup. Al and Josh are both All Star level (if not yet officially All Stars) and in many ways complement each other (though I still think balancing the team by trading one is ultimately way to go).

As for Lou, he needs to remember who finishes is usually what’s important in NBA(not who starts). He is our finisher and normally first off the bench. Still, Larry Drew has choices aplenty. Never a problem having too many options for a coach who is getting good at distributing minutes.

Slimjr

December 30th, 2012
12:59 pm

Great points Ken..

Josh is a starter period..

Lou looks good as a starting two guard [4] games in a row now..Wonder If Larry will start him against James Harden? Lou will be able to attack James off the dribble and draw fouls too.

He should continue to start as the off guard. Its working Larry..

Slimjr

December 30th, 2012
1:01 pm

Hawks are a better team with Lou starting

Honesty

December 30th, 2012
1:26 pm

Like I said last night, I think he want to remain a starter lol. Lou has always played bigger than his 6′2 frame and he has always thrived at the SG position dating back to his High School days. Never on any level was he seen as a pure PG by anyone. He has become a better playmaker over the years though.

Honesty

December 30th, 2012
1:30 pm

After watching those last two runs by Rodgers and Snelling, I’m convinced that it’s not the O-line…..Michael Turner just can’t hit those gaps fast enough anymore smh….it’s really a shame..

prison mike

December 30th, 2012
2:01 pm

Lethal can start but he needs to “bring it” on defense with more energy. With two 6-2 back court players, the need for a big frontcourt is essential.

Harris, Korver, and Morrow are the trade bait. Free agency:bring Jarrett Jack home. He’s the perfect compliment to Teague and Lou.

Grandad

December 30th, 2012
2:25 pm

I`ve been Preaching TeamBasketball
since I commenced to bloggin` in `09 … ain`t it fun … TeamB-ball !
[bloggin`s fun too]
____________________________________________

My appreciation to *’`doc`’* … [ftpb]
____________________________________________

Team Chemistry:

For a Good Long while, I was in the habit of posting;
G`Dads Trade 0`the Day,
since DFerry has arrived, I have felt that a useless exercise.

Especially – Now – OurTeam has developed such a dynamic chemistry
that tinkering with parts is dangerous.
Mr Ferry and LD knows the lockerroom, will consider our needs,
and then will balance need vs the potential to “upset the apple cart”.

Beautiful TeamChem may be more hard to come by,
than a SuperStar.
________________________________________________

More than one way to skin a cat:

Let`s all face it;
Al is a High Post (face the basket) player. (and a dang good one)
Whether or not yawl wish to call him a [5] or a [4] is irrelevant.
-back to my point-
Some say we don`t have much of an inside game.
Traditional Low Post Center, that`s true.
-but-
Here are ways we get the ball inside:
*fast break lay-ups; *pick & roll; *dribble penetration / Lou, JT, Harris;
*Zaza / offensive rebs-stick backs; -&- *Ld`s set plays resulting …..
in a lob with dunk finish by Josh or Al.
____________________________________________

Zaza:
*Has a very high B-ball IQ that goes un-noticed
*Has wonderful feet in the post / and a great low post game
-note-
[poor hands & inability to finish due to being pigmentationally challenged]
*Za has a little Laimbeer in him;
did yawl see the replay of his illegal screen last eve ?
A forearm shiver under the chin to the indiana guard … message sent !

I Love Zaza !
____________________________________________

Ain`t This Fun … Gohawks !

____________________________________________

SickAndTired

December 30th, 2012
2:27 pm

Honesty, really?

Ken Strickland

December 30th, 2012
2:33 pm

What this team needs most, other than a legimate SF, is for Josh to get his ego in check and stop acting like he’s a go to guy. He definitely needs to realize he’s not a better outside shooter than LWilliams, JTeague, KKorver, AMorrow, AHorford, DHarris, or JJenkins.

Having him finally come to that conclusion, and doing something about it, would be the biggest improvement this team could experience. I believe his reluctance to give up the jumper is tied to his FT woes. I remember when he vowed to take far fewer 3pt shots, and he did just that, but his FT shooting wasn’t the issue it is now.

keith

December 30th, 2012
2:52 pm

High-sider
December 30th, 2012
12:52 pm

Ken Strickland
December 30th, 2012
12:32 pm

I had to set my Fantasy Football rosters….I have 5 teams in fantasy Championship games today. How about this idea? Josh Smith plays the “5″ sort of ” Ben Wallace” like…Al plays the “4″. We don not need Josh outside of the paint at all??? Al has a far greater shooting touch than Josh….

Ben Wallace was a very effective 6″9″ Center… Also, Wes Unseld, was an NBA Champion 6″7″ Center??? What say you???

Slimjr

December 30th, 2012
3:09 pm

Josh needs a shooting coach in the worst way!

Grandad

December 30th, 2012
3:12 pm

keith

I`ve said for many yrs now:

Let`s call Al our “punter” and Josh our “short-stop”.

Then we or they don`t have to worry about their position #.
-or-
we could just call them basketball players & let `em play ball !

Hoops

December 30th, 2012
3:19 pm

I like our team! We are a Team and we are sharing the ball! This team is fun to support!

keith

December 30th, 2012
3:26 pm

Grandad
December 30th, 2012
3:12 pm

IMO Josh Smith should always be on the “Block” . Much like Dwight Howard…Allow Josh to Pass out of the post??? Guard opposing Centers also….He is a great help defender….Leave the OUTSIDE SHOOTING to Al, Jeff, Kyle, and Lou….

Ardilla

December 30th, 2012
3:30 pm

Trade Smoove now!

Buddy Grizzard

December 30th, 2012
3:50 pm

Najeh you said that you don’t think LD spends any time considering the reactions of fans in his decisions. I agree. I said that LD reacted to fan reaction to his criticism of Teague. I didn’t say he did so because he reads this blog.

Most likely he was advised by Hawks PR to spread his criticism more evenly among the players. Do the opinions of fans matter? Did they matter in the firing of Mike Brown? I can assure you they did, especially the opinions of those fans who pa $1000+ per night for their seats.

The opinions of people on this blog do not matter because very few regular posters here are season ticket holders. But when the blog is nearly unanimous in its outcry that LD is unfairly singling out Teague while coddling Josh, you can be sure that that opinion is held by a substantial number of season ticket holders, whose opinions do matter.

NORRIS CHUCK

December 30th, 2012
3:52 pm

myrak43

December 30th, 2012
11:05 am
“maybe we could send Devin Harris to Toronto for Bargnani.”

Man, that would be a dream come true if they could get another big to go with Al that could shoot!

keith

December 30th, 2012
3:54 pm

Andrea Bargnani , Mickael Pietrus , and a 1st round pick to Atlanta for Josh Smith and Devin Harris….

This is a win for all involved going forward!!!!!!!!!

Buddy Grizzard

December 30th, 2012
3:56 pm

You notice from Drew’s comments that he acknowledged Josh’s poor shot selection, but immediately wanted to change the subject, saying they are “moving on.” It’s completely obvious that Drew had no desire whatsoever to call Josh out in the media. Sure seems like somebody talked to him about the PR value of being more even in his criticism.

Drew knows that Josh is going to have a lot to do with whether he gets a new contract to continue coaching the Hawks after this season. I Josh agrees to re-sign and doesn’t want Drew to remain as coach, Drew will be gone. If Josh signs elsewhere, and makes it know through back channels because he is leaving to play for a better coach, Drew is gone.

Drew knows that he needs Josh to be happy here and want to extend because that is his best chance of having a job after this season. That’s why the tiny little bit of criticism of Josh had to practically be dragged out of LD.

keith

December 30th, 2012
4:03 pm

Oh yeah…Send Michael Turner to Toronto as well to sweeten the deal!!!!!!

paian

December 30th, 2012
4:16 pm

Well james anderson is about to be signed by the rockets

Big Ray

December 30th, 2012
4:38 pm

So Lou wants to remain a starter.

Heh….with LD you can never be guaranteed such a thing…

Big Ray

December 30th, 2012
4:42 pm

Buddy ,

All of that makes LD what he is – a lame duck coach. I want no part of that, and I doubt Danny Ferry does either.

Gotta have a HC that gets respect from ALL of his guys.

As talented as Josh is, he is not the kind of player who is a superstar. In other words, not the kind of guy who can lead his team to new heights. He’s no Kobe, no Lebron…not a ‘Melo, either.

Since he’s not that kind of player, he shouldn’t have that kind of clout. Nobody on this team should.

I see Drew gone no matter WHAT happens. That’s the best route to go. And don’t treat Josh like a guy yo can build your team around. Because he’s not that guy.

AGAIN…nobody on this roster is….

High-sider

December 30th, 2012
4:47 pm

keith,

Josh Smith is too small (short and light) to consistently play the 5 on a game-in/game-out basis; he’s really a 3 (imo).

waltbellamy

December 30th, 2012
5:00 pm

Josh thinks he is the next generation Magic Johnson. If you do not believe me watch what happens the next time he collects a rebound.

Astro Joe

December 30th, 2012
5:28 pm

Buddy, so what you are saying is that if you were a head coach, you would adjust your management of the team based on fan comments. Because in order to believe that someone else would surrender to the whims of a below-average fan base, you have to have some of that same surrender deep within you.

Grandad

December 30th, 2012
5:37 pm

Keith

I agree keep Josh in the post area:
low, mid, pinch, short corner, high, go ouside to screen [only],
then cut, curl, flash, slip, duck, etc.

However, puttin` a hat on a hawg and callin him
“Oink Thibodeau”
does not make him a Frenchman.