Lou Williams was rattled about as a Sixth Man of the Year Runner-Up candidate this year (since James Harden wrapped it up by the end of January). He didn’t shoot well from the floor, but his True Shooting percentage (52.5%) was just OK enough to cover for it. He was the Sixers’ best scoring option for much of the year. He had a disappointing playoffs, but with his length, contributed some to one of the best defenses in the league (his defensive rating was actually one of the worst on the Sixers).
There was some talk that he might not opt out of his last season and play it out with the Sixers, but as is most often the case, Williams is not taking that route. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Williams’ agent Leon Rose confirmed Williams has opted out.
So thi sis going to be a bit of a trick for the Sixers.
Williams, barring a major uptick in efficiency and production, isn’t going to be worth the contract he’s going to pull in. Volume scorers are too often criticized by the NBA internet, but they’re also too often given large contracts that they are nowhere near worth by the league. The Sixers are in a bind because they need scoring. Without it, they’re going to absolutely suffocate. Williams scores, 20.5 points per 36 minutes. Without him, they’re without a gun. But they can’t give him what he’ll be worth, especially if they get in a bidding war and need the extra year available to re-sign him with.
For Williams, he’ll have offers. He’s young and can score. Those guys get quality money in this league. He’s coachable and can hit some big shots.
It’s payday for Lou Williams.
The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.
Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.
He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.
Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.
However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.
That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?
The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.
Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.
Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.
Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.
Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.
He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.
But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.
Except we now know he apparently likes karate.
Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.
If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.
Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.
Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.
Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.