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 rumors are true, and for better or worse, Brandon Roy is going to give it another go. Roy’s friend Will Conroy said on Twitter that he and Roy were together answering questions Friday night, and provided photo evidence.
Roy retired this season due to his knee condition which robbed him of most of his games over the past three seasons. But Roy has hinted more than once in media interviews over the past six months that he intends to make a comeback. And if the conversation with Twitter via his friend Conroy actually was him, he confirmed the rumors. Brandon Roy wants back in the game.
Now, we have no way to confirm that it was actually Roy speaking on the Twitter dialogue, and saying you want back is different from actually being able to. But this is the first real confirmation we’ve got that Brandon Roy doesn’t consider himself done with professional basketball.
You hope for the best, but Roy was such a shell of himself over the past few seasons, and you don’t want to see him suffer through any more disappointment. But you could say the same about any situation in which the human spirit overcame physical limitations. I guess all we can do is wait and watch, and hope for Brandon Roy to return.
Russell Westbrook, for reasons I struggle to comprehend, took a lot of flak for Game 2. Magic Johnson called it the worst performance by a point guard in the Finals. People have blamed the entire loss on him. As if, without Westbrook, the Thunder would have magically created his 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Was it efficient? Of course not. This is a series against one of the best defenses in the league. Efficiency is a commodity. He needs to get the efficiency up. He could have played better. But part of this is the role that Westbrook plays in the Thunder offense.
Someone has to soak up possessions. “It should be Kevin Durant!” you say. Durant will never shoot 28 times or more in a game, unless it’s in overtime. It’s not who he is, it’s not who he has ever been, it’s not how he’s made. He’s an efficient shooter who lets the game come to him. Someone has to take those shots. And when they’re falling? Westbrook can drop 40 with the same amount of effort. Shots didn’t fall. He still made plays, and his defense was light years ahead of Durant’s in Game 2. But no one will talk about that.
Whatever the case, Westbrook is having none of it, and he’s going to get grief for that, too. From media availability today:
Well, that’s going to go over great.
Outside of the double-negative which actually indicates he’s going to make an adjustment, this is the same kind of bold response you have to expect here. If athletes adjusted their games based on media pressure, LeBron would play in the post more and Dwight Howard would have a reliable hook shot. OK, those are bad examples. But it’s not the time for Westbook to be upending his game. He needs to do what he does. Westbrook needs to be Westbrook. The Thunder can win that way. But the Thunder have to play better defense. Westbrook can take five shots and Durant 40, and it won’t matter if they don’t play better defense. But by all means, let’s keep blaming Westbrook, the LeBron of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You have to live with your past mistakes in the NBA, more so than most people in a normal life. Your faults and misfortunes are broadcast to millions of people, over and over again, dissected in print, television, podcasts, and bar conversations for year. Things which happened in seconds become the source of constant questions. The Heat face that kind of scrutiny after putting up the big talk in 2010 and failing to deliver in their first Finals appearance as “the big three” last year.
A lot of the conversation this year has followed how this Heat team is the same, and different, from last year’s Finals squad. How the experience is similar and different. How the players are similar and different. How the narrative is the same, always, and repeating.
The Heat, well, they’re kind of done with it.
From our own Ira Winderman, via the bane of my existence, Sulia.com:
Erik Spoelstra, on if LeBron James, has changed from last year’s Finals, “We’re done with last year and analyzing last year’s Finals.”
via Ira Winderman’s post on NBA Finals | Latest updates on Sulia.
Yeah, something tells me Spoelstra and the Heat are going to get asked about that stuff at least once more, and that it’s going to keep coming in waves. Something also tells me if they win the NBA Finals, he won’t mind talking about last year so much. Funny how that works.
You can’t escape your past, you can only try and live with it.
There’s a book on the Dream Team coming out on July 10th by Jack McCallum, who writes for Sports Illustrated and who wrote “:07 Seconds or Less” and it’s incredible like you’d imagine. I got a sneak copy of it that I’ll share thoughts on about later. But as prep for the book’s publication, McCallum is doing a series of blog posts, yes blog posts, on the interviews with some of the all-time greats. I just had to share this with you because, honestly, well… From McCallum’s post on interviewing Karl Malone.
“What am I proudest of?” Malone ponders the question. “Probably getting the grand slam of sheep. In the hunting world, those four sheep would be the Super Bowl, the NBA championship, the World Series and the Stanley Cup all in one.”
(For the record, and I had to look this up, the Grand Slam is the Dall, the Stone, the Desert Bighorn and the Rocky Mountain Bighorn. As they stared down at me, they all looked the same, though I wouldn’t say that to their faces.)
“I don’t think there’s three thousand hunters got all four of them,” Malone says proudly. “And that’s going back to President Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt.”
via Jack McCallum | BEHIND THE INTERVIEWS: THE MAILMAN.
Second all-time in points, the second-best power forward of all time if you don’t count Tim Duncan as a center, a legend, a member of the best pick and roll combo in the sport’s history, and an Olympic Gold Medalist.
The NBA is really, really, really weird and that’s why it’s amazing.