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Lakers Rank: Lou Williams' scoring should give the Lakers a lot of bang for their buck

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The former Sixth Man of the Year should be better with a more definitive role.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Lou Williams was ranked as the eighth-best Laker coming into the season by our staff, which may be underselling the former Sixth Man of the Year. Williams had a solid first season in Los Angeles, but his inconsistent minutes and confusing role stood out more than his stellar production. With a more defined role and a better bench cast, expect Williams to deliver another strong season as a second-unit scorer.

Williams started 33 games in 2015, which is the most starts in a season for him since 2009. The guard averaged the most minutes since that 2009 season. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, the similarities end there.

Season

Points

Assists

Rebounds

FG%

3PT%

Off Rtg

Def Rtg

2009-10

14.0

4.2

2.9

.470

.340

116

112

2015-16

15.3

2.5

2.5

.408

.344

115

114

As the Lakers coaching staff struggled to set a rotation in stone, Williams was constantly in different lineups. He still contributed 15.3 points per game and shot the ball at a clip in line with his career averages, but his ball distribution wasn’t quite up to par. Again, this probably had more to do with a lack of chemistry among his teammates.

Williams was also forced to mix with the starters and the second unit. He often played down the stretch in close games with the starters, but came off of the bench at the beginning of the contest. Williams actually did have slightly better numbers than his campaign in Toronto that earned him a Sixth Man of the Year award, but he was in a constant flux offensively because of his unfamiliar role. Williams has never been a great defender, but he was a little worse this season than in years past. Expect that facet of his game to return back to its previous (not that high) level.

In Walton’s new system, Williams likely will not start unless there is an injury. He may not even be the lead ball-handler on the second unit, but he will certainly provide scoring off the bench. I think Williams will be able to slide into a scoring role on the second unit, something he has been comfortable doing his whole career, and develop chemistry with his teammates. This will turn into a more productive offensive campaign and that success should bring new energy on the defensive end. Expect him to turn in something closer to this for the 2016-17 season.

Season

Points

Assists

Rebounds

FG%

3pt%

Off Rtg

Def Rtg

2016-17

14.5

4.0

2.5

.430

.360

114

110

Perhaps the most important thing about Williams is intangible: his veteran presence. As a second-round pick that fought to carve out a role in the league, he knows the importance of putting in work from the early days of his career, a knowledge he can hopefully impart to a young Lakers team.

As the cap soars, Williams continues to be on an insanely cheap deal. He is not ranked highly by our staff, but I think Lakers fans and the team will see his value this season.