It’s not every day that a bench player on a middling squad makes the news for not being selected to an All Star game, but here we are:
Reasonable people can (and will) disagree about whether Williams deserved the spot—if he did deserve it, who should he have replaced?—but the fact is Williams is having himself a dandy of a season, averaging 24 points per game on 61 percent True Shooting and truly star-like 29 percent usage, including a 50-point explosion in an incredibly unlikely Clippers road win over the Golden State Warriors. We are here today to admire what he did last night, in a Clippers win over the somewhat less impressive Memphis Grizzlies:
Lou’s game during the era of miserable ref-baiting bullshit was, at best, an acquired taste, and he seemed like a guy who might see his efficiency bottom out with the league emphasizing a stricter interpretation of continuation with respect to shooting fouls, but that has not turned out to be the case, at all. He’s scoring the lowest percentage of his points from the free throw line since the 2012-2013 season, but there’s been no corresponding drop in efficiency: Lou’s effective field goal percentage (54 percent) and assist percentage (27 percent) are career highs, and he’s doing it while playing a career-high 32 minutes per game. He’s still an insanely quick and capable ball-handler, and a deadly shooter, and all the injuries for the Clippers, together with a general dearth of playmaking, has given Lou all the permission he needs to be just as aggressive as he wants to be with the ball.
Nothing Lou did against the Grizzlies was especially spectacular—there was a lovely gliding drive-and-dish late in the third quarter, and a couple nice hit-ahead passes—but his game, stripped of the foul-seeking, is a fun and tricky mix of pump-fakes and jerky step-backs and feathery floaters, and he had the total package working against Memphis’s overmatched guards, to the tune of 40 points on just 19 shots, plus 10 assists and four steals. Williams is sometimes described as a “Wizards-killer” in Washington, and I am sure he is thought of as a “Bucks-killer” in Milwaukee, and a “Suns-killer” in Phoenix. That’s a label that journeymen get when they are remembered for exploding on unsuspecting sucker-ass opposing teams. Lou is better than that. He’s a damn killer. He kills everyone, now more than ever.
I, for one, do not really believe Lou Williams was snubbed. There can only be so many All Stars, and Lou Williams isn’t better, nor has he been better, than, say, Karl-Anthony Towns, or Damian Lillard, or Russell Westbrook. But he rules! Lou Williams definitely rules. He’s having a career year for a tough Clippers team that needs every one of his tricks in order to stay competitive. He deserves the attention.