Lou Williams is right at home in Los Angeles.
And not because there is a Chick-fil-A right next door to his house.
Williams spent his first seven NBA seasons with the 76ers after he jumped directly to the pros from South Gwinnett High. After a two-year stint with his hometown Hawks, Williams played for four teams in a three seasons – the Raptors, Lakers, Rockets and finally the Clippers. He was traded from the Lakers to the Rockets in February and then from the Rockets to the Clippers in June of 2017.
“It was a rough year and a half,” Williams said Monday after he had 16 points and 11 assists in a 127-119 win over the Hawks in Atlanta. “I understand the business. I had a cheap deal and some teams were trying to make some playoff runs. I understand how the business goes. It’s good to be here.”
Very good, in fact.
After one season with the Clippers, the franchise signed Williams to a three-year, $24 million extension in February. The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, his second, continues to thrive in his role as instant scorer off the bench.
“Letting him touch the basketball,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce listed as the most difficult thing about stopping Williams before the game. “With all the teams I’ve coached with, when he touches the ball, he’s a instantly a threat. If you throw a double team at him, now you are odd numbered behind. If you try to guard him straight up, he’s one of the craftiest players in our league. If you get him going left and you put your hands out, he knows how to bait and get a foul.
“He’s just one of those special players who knows how to score, knows how to get to the free-throw line, knows how to get his shot off at the end of shot clocks when you know exactly what is coming. He has a knack for scoring. It’s something you can’t teach. There are a few guys like that in our league and he is one of them.”
Williams had four points and eight assists in the fourth quarter of the victory as the Clippers outscored the Hawks 38-23 after erasing a 15-point deficit.
Williams is averaging 18.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 31 minutes for the Clippers this season. He has retained his title as super-sub, coming off the bench all 16 games for the Clippers (11-6).
“We love him,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We not only love his play, we love all the intangibles. His leadership. I don’t think Lou has ever been known as a leader but Lou has been phenomenal with our guys, not just our young guys, not only telling them how to score, because I think he’s an expert there, but how to live life in the NBA and how to deal with adversity. He’s a truth-teller, which I like. He doesn’t talk a lot but when he does it’s the truth.”
Last season, his 13th, Williams averaged career-highs in points (22.6), assists (5.3) and minutes (32.8). He became the second player in NBA history, joining Chauncey Billups, to average a career-high in scoring in their 13th season or later.
Williams doesn’t consider himself a leader, just a player willing to share what he has learned as he enters his 14th season.
“I don’t put a lot of emphasis on coming in here and trying to be boisterous,” Williams said. “I’ve seen a lot in this league. I’ve probably been in every position you can be in whether it’s almost an all-star coming off the bench, starting, not playing. I’ve been in a lot of scenarios. I have a lot of experience. So when I talk, guys listen.”
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