Posted by: Kevin Jones
01/21/11 1:02 pm EST

When a sports franchise is under .500, fans of the team are keen on putting their two cents in on why things aren’t running so smoothly.  In particular, people will clamor about how the roles of certain reserve players should be increased.  And with the way the Sixers bench has been scoring in this 2010-2011 season, calls for lineup changes are filling up the message boards, blogs and even the newspapers.

Over the past week, Lou Williams-fever in Philadelphia has reached its boiling point and rightfully so.  The reserve guard’s 20-point performances and late game heroics this week against Milwaukee and Charlotte won the 76ers two ball games at home.  Had these two contests gone the other way, they would have been devastating blows to this season.  So Williams and his supporters probably believe they have legitimate reasons to call for more playing time recently.

On the surface of the stat sheet (18.75 ppg. & 3.2 apg. in his last 8 games), it looks like Williams is a player Philadelphia could not live without, but we here at Philadunkia have been covering this team for a while and we have yet to see Lou Williams “come through” on a consistent basis and thus warrant the minutes and shots he is currently receiving. 

In our opinion, Louis is what he is — a very good 6th man who can provide significant offensive punch, but that’s it.  So before the Louis Williams fever hits epidemic proportions in the City of Brotherly Love, we thought it was time for a reality check.

Using our friends from Basketball-Reference, I’ve come up with a chart to compare Williams to six other NBA guards who play in a reserve role and to be honest, the numbers don’t look good for Louis.

If you’re unfamiliar with these advanced stats, I’ve attached a key to the bottom of the article.              

player eFG% AST% USG% OWS DWS WS
Lou Williams .445 25.3 28 1.4 .7 2.1
Jason Terry .483 23.9 25.2 .5 1.3 1.8
Jamal Crawford .509 19.7 24.5 2.0 1.0 3.0
George Hill .520 12.2 17.6 1.8 1.3 3.1
Shannon Brown .523 10.4 23.4 1.5 1.0 2.5
Kirk Hinrich .491 23.4 16.8 1.5 .6 2.1
James Harden .484 12.3 20.4 2.0 2.5 4.5


The instant analysis that comes from this chart is that Williams not only is the worst shooter out of the bunch, but his usage percentage (plays called specifically for him) is the most for any reserve in the League.  In fact, his usage rate is 12th in the entire NBA.  That’s more than anyone on the Celtics roster and more than notorious…shall I say “scorers” Vince Carter, Brandon Jennings, Danny Granger and Blake Griffin.

I’m not questioning Lou’s scoring ability.  We all know he can flat out fill it up.  I’m more questioning Doug Collins approach of having him play one-on-one isolation basketball as much as any superstar in basketball right now.  I like having the option of Williams late in the fourth quarter of games but our insistent reliance on the 26-year-old is adding up negatively for younger players like Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks and especially Evan Turner, who was one of the best closers in recent college basketball memory.

The bottom line is that Williams is producing nowhere near the amount of win shares he should for how much he touches the ball.  Elton Brand (4.6), Thaddeus Young (3.0), Jrue Holiday (2.8) and Andre Iguodala (2.7) are producing win shares not just through their scoring efforts.

And let me put into perspectivehow bad Lou Williams (.7) defensive win shares have been.  Even with hundreds of more minutes than Spencer Hawes (1.1) and Andres Nocioni (.8), Williams has barely found a way to impact the game without the ball.

Last season Williams started 38 total games and his eFG percentage was .520, among the best guards in the League.  But way too many times this season Williams has been given the green light and too frequently that leads to a forced or off-balance or ill advised shot.  These suspect FGAs are stealing shots away from Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, which for the Sixers is not good news.  You see, when Holiday scores more than 20 points in a game, the Sixers are 5-2.  On the night’s where Young scores 20 or more, Philadunkia’s home team is 4-1.

In short William’s minutes need to be trimmed back and his touches controlled.  Collins needs to return Louis to a more traditional 6th man role (A role that Louis has excelled at in the past.) , because it’s time to start handing Holiday and Young the keys to the Sixers offense.


Philadunkia Notes:

Other USG % on the Sixers.  Jrue Holiday (21.9). Thad Young (20.5). Elton Brand (19.5). Andre Iguodala (18.5). Evan Turner (17).

Advanced Stat Key

EFG% – This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal.

AST%- Assist percentage is an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor.

USG%- Usage percentage is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor.

OWS- Offensive Wins Shares

DWS-Defensive Win Shares

WS- Total Win Shares



  1. Greg
    22. January 2011 at 01:09


    Lou is similar to Iguodala, in that they are good offensive players when their offense comes in the flow of the game. They both struggle when they have to craete for themselves or when they have to shoot jumpers.

    I never had a high opinion of Lou before this year, but now I really like him, especially if he could tone down his hero complex. I am tired of Lou jacking long jumpers early in possessions, and he has to lead the league in shots taken between 25 and 30 feet from the basket.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your laying this blame on Doug Collins. Lou has at least two terrible end of quarter possessions a game. In fact, against Orlando he had two terible end of quarter possessions in the same quarter! Anyway, Doug needs to reign Lou in and give the crunch time possessions to ET and Jrue only.

    ET and Jrue are the future stars of this team. (Stern willing) So they should be given the reigns, Lou, and Iggy in the past, have both shown they aren’t the big time scorer that is required to win in this league. Both men could certainly be major contributors on a championship contender, but never the main offensive weapon. The Sixers need to push the young guys and see if they could be the player we need, and Lou needs to be the 6th man, or Lou has to go.

    Awesome stuff, there’s not enough Sixers talk out there so please keep up the good work.


  2. terry
    22. January 2011 at 11:21

    williams is abot the only sixer who is paying attention to Collins desire to have his players drive to the basket How many fouls does williams create that helps put the sixers in the bonus position

    He nlike man ysixers is neve afraid to put the ball up but when he drives he often finds an open wing to dish to

    If he were to start,and score as he does when he comes off the bench the Sixers would not need a spark of the bench they would be ahead

  3. Sloetry
    22. January 2011 at 15:29

    it’s difficult to criticise Collins decisions. I think he’s done an exceptional job. But you are right to in your analysis of of how plays are being drawn up around Williams in crunch time, or simply closing out quarters. To be honest, I’d have more faith in Hawes hitting an outside shot consistently (which incidently is another thing I don’t get… has Hawes been told not to shoot from outside anymore, because when he was hot last month, it started from his outside shot).
    Anyone who takes enough clutch shots will hit some of them… and Williams is living on the glory of some, but there are many more that don’t make it, and our record in close games highlights the need for strong clutch play. Not hating on Williams, I’m simply saying he is not a go to player, but he is a good spark as a sixth man.
    Holiday on the other hand, shows signs of brilliance at times, and this and his confidence need to be enhanced. I would rather lose close games but see his decision making ability grow, rather than Williams lose games through the current strategy.
    ps. If ET keeps growing as he is, and works on his outside shot in the off season, this young man could go from an apparent near draft bust a few weeks ago, to a major player on this team. I agree with the earlier comment, Holiday and Turner are the future of this team.
    Good article.

  4. AlexBru
    23. January 2011 at 15:18

    Great article and responses. The think the Sixers fans who have watched most of the games this year will agree, and those advanced stats put some proper light into the situation. Lou consistently gets us out of our offense, and puts up dumb jumpers early in the shot clock. Anyone else notice, how with 6 or 7 seconds left on the shot clock, or end of quarter, Lou holds on to the ball and takes a step back jumper with a hand in the face? If he makes it, he’s a hero, and if he misses, well, there wasn’t much time left, so he had to take it. With the shot clock winding down Lou needs to take it to the rack or get it into the post. With that said, that responsibility lies on Doug Collins to correct those low percentage shots Lou takes. And he doesn’t, he continues to put him in those type of situations. Another area of complaint with DC is Evan Turner. Evan Turner had the ball in his hands 60% of the time at Ohio State. He’s a playmaker. Why DC has Turner standing in the corner coming off screens to be an off the ball catch and shoot guy is beyond me. He needs the ball in his hands, and be able to create for others and himself. Turner is not Ray Allen or RIp Hamilton, and will never be. I don’t understand why DC is so hellbent on making him one, when that’s not the strong suit of his game. Why doesn’t Lou move to the wing and Turner bring the ball up when Holiday is out? We’re not utilizing Turner’s abilities, and when Lou’s running point it seems detrimental to the other guys out there. When he’s on, it’s awesome. But when he’s off, he kills us. I really like Lou as a 6th man, but again, I think the negatives outweigh the positives in making him a starter. Again, great article Kevin and thanks for the statistical insight.

  5. eric d
    23. January 2011 at 15:24

    i think doug collins is sort of forced to go to lou williams due to his athleticism and being one of the only players on the roster than hit a basket off the dribble. evan turner def is not ready, jrue can hit a few mid range if he creates space with his pump fake(although he missed a WIDE open 3 that would’ve put them up by one vs the bobcats in the final minutes) and AI can get that high arching jumper to go once and awhile but no real option to consistently hit that big time shot off the dribble. one of the reasons which is why its so important for the sixers to drive to the basket, draw the d and kick out to the mid range-deep jump shooters.(meeks, williams, hawes, kapono?)

    What about hawes playing inside out, give and go with brand, spencer is an exceptional passer and good shooter. could spread things out for ai and turner to go to the hoop on good cuts which they excel.

  6. brennan dipippo
    24. January 2011 at 12:24

    So far, all thats been stated is correct. ET should become the grant hill type player minus the three ball although ET can knock them down. With him running the offense, we can run a very fluid offense with a very high scoring rate that will result in more wins. Good piece of writing.

  7. Philadunkia » GM 44 RECAP: THAT’S HOW WE ROLL
    25. January 2011 at 11:04

    […] game last night; a pass-oriented one.  Williams had six assists and barely attacked the basket, something I suggested in my previous article.  Instead he picked his spot on jumpers and fed the post, helping engineer a defining 15 point run […]

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