The season is only 22 games old but Lou Williams has one hand on the Sixth Man Of The Year award this season.
Lou Williams is have one heck of a season. He has played all 22 games, coming off the bench for all of them, helping the Los Angeles Lakers to a 10-12 record. Yes they are below .500 but with the loss of their generational superstar, Kobe Bryant, it is amazing this team has an identity to win this many.
Last season the Lakers only won 17 of their 82 games, giving them the worst record in the Western Conference and one of their worst records ever.
This season, Luol Deng, Jose Calderon, Timofey Mozgov and Brandon Ingram have joined up with Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr to form a better nucleus.
This year the most important Lakers player has been Williams, and not by a small margin either.
Williams is not a newcomer to the league, he has been around for 733 games but he has only started 89 games, 35 of them were last year for the Lakers. In that time, Williams has averaged 12.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists for his career.
This season, Williams is averaging 17.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game as sixth man. All of these numbers are up from last season except for rebounds.
This year, Williams has been held to less than ten points in only two games, the early season loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the win against the Brooklyn Nets. He has held the bench together with his play.
He has scored between 10 and 19 points 13 times, 20 and 29 points six times and he scored 40 points in today’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. He has done this while shooting 44.9 percent from the field, up from his career average of 41.7 percent.
His three point percentage is near the top of the league. He is hitting 38.9 percent from deep. Even his free throw percentage is up. 85.2 percent this year, compared to 81.9 percent career.
He is doing this in 24.2 minutes per game, almost four minutes per game less than last season. He is pouring in more points, more assists and collecting more steals thn last year when he was in serious consideration for the award. He is also doing it more efficiently than last season.
His main rivals will be Jamal Crawford and Enes Kanter. Crawford is averaging 11.9 points per game without the same efficiency as Williams.
Kanter is faring a little better with 12.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game but his play is going relatively unnoticed thanks to Russell Westbrook and his historic season.
Williams is also having such a positive impact on the Lakers squad. Six of his games for the season have seen him with a plus/minus of over 10 six times. He has only seven games where his plus/minus is in the negative.
If he keeps playing like this, Williams will certainly win the Sixth Man Of The Year Award.