There are few players who have embraced their identity as well as Lou Williams. The veteran embraced his Sixth Man role early on in his career and has won three Sixth Man of the Year Awards as a result. The Underground GOAT has been one of the best bench options for more than a decade and still seemingly has some gas left in the tank. Williams is coming off a somewhat disappointing season with the Hawks. The 35-year-old averaged just 6.3 points, 1.9 assists, and 1.6 rebounds per game in his 14.3 minutes per game.
“For whatever reason I believed him, I bought in. And my Clippers run is by far the best I’ve felt playing basketball in my entire career.”
Lou Williams told Doc Rivers straight up he didn’t want to be a Clipper, and Doc got him to buy in anyway.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) July 21, 2022
The overlapping weaknesses with Trae Young and the overall uneasy fit in Atlanta made it clear it was time for Williams to move on. Even in the twilight of his career, Williams can still provide an impressive scoring burst off the bench for an NBA team. Here are the three teams that would benefit the most from adding the seventeen-year NBA veteran.
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3 teams that must still sign Lou Williams in 2022 NBA Free Agency
3)Los Angeles Lakers
Lou Williams had some of his best years playing in Los Angeles although he was most known for his time with the Clippers. He did spend two years with the Lakers in 2015-16 and 2016-17 however. During this time he averaged 16.8 points per game in his 26.5 minutes per game. While he will not be expected to bring this level of impact at this stage of his career, Williams would be a positive addition to the bench unit.
The Lakers will be lacking a scoring punch this season following the loss of Malik Monk. While they have brought in a few notable additions, having a guy to rely on to get his own baskets would consistently be an improvement. There is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the Lakers’ roster. However, the franchise should not overlook the marginal moves that are important to the team while waiting for a bigger move to materialize. Adding Lou Williams would be a positive addition to the franchise.
2) Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors ranked dead last in the NBA last season in bench points per game. The 25.7 points per game that were contributed to the second unit last season simply are not enough as the team continues to progress. While Lou Williams is not the premiere scorer he once was, he still could be a positive addition to the team. His defensive shortcomings from him could easily be covered up by the lengthy Raptors defense.
Using Williams as a primary backup for Fred VanFleet would be an effective role. The veteran would provide a new dynamic to the roster due to his ball-handling and scoring ability from him. The Raptors have a clear identity built around switchable defenders and versatility. This is far from a description of Lou Williams. However, adding him as a change of pace in the rotation could fill a need for the team. Having this type of lineup versatility and options for different matchups would be a beneficial move for the franchise moving forward.
1) Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks suffered a major loss this offseason when Jalen Brunson was elected to take his talents to the Knicks. The franchise overachieved last season and made it to the Western Conference Finals. As impressive as Luka Doncic is as a talent, he also is not the easiest player to play alongside. While he is an impressive passer when the opportunity occurs, Doncic is also incredibly ball-dominant and this results in his teammates standing around for the bulk of the shot clock.
Due to the exhausting nature of this ball-dominant playstyle, there are also plays where Doncic needs others to create. Jalen Brunson filled this role in a major way and the Mavericks will be forced to replace him. Tim Hardaway Jr will be expected to step up as well as increased expectations for Spencer Dinwiddie as he will have a full year with the team. Adding Lou Williams to this group will provide the franchise with another player capable of creating offense. He also could be valuable in a mentorship role to rookie Jaden Hardy. The G-League Ignite standout was selected by the Mavericks in the second round and has exciting potential.
There does not seem to be a major rush from Lou Williams in choosing a destination. The veteran has been around the NBA for so long and is enjoying some downtime this offseason. It should not even be considered a major surprise if he signs with a team midseason. Regardless, there will be a place in the NBA for Lemon Pepper Lou as long as he wants it. Look for him to continue to add him to his NBA legacy and put another productive season in the books.