Hi, my name is Broderick Turner, and welcome back to the Los Angeles Times' Clippers newsletter.
Lou Williams should be crowned the NBA's sixth man of the year award winner for the second time in his career.
His numbers say the Clippers guard has stood out among the top reserves in the league and that Williams should be the clear choice. But it's more than just the stats that tell Williams' story this season.
He has been the most valuable player on the Clippers this season and also their best leader.
"He's probably underrated by all of us, honestly," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "Lou is a better player than I thought. I'm the first to say that. I have always liked Lou as a scorer, but I didn't know he was lethal. He's as good of a scorer as I've coached, and I've had some really good scorers, with Paul [Pierce in Boston] probably being the best, but Lou is a professional scorer, as well, and he does it quickly.
"That's what I like about Lou. Lou is not a ball holder. The ball doesn't stick in his hands for 15 seconds. Lou scores quick, and that helps your offense. I think that's been one of the keys to our offense. He'll score in the flow of our offense without the ball stopping. He's just really good."
Williams is a sub and yet he leads the Clippers in scoring, averaging a career-high 23.2 points per game. He also leads the Clippers in assists, averaging a career-best 5.5 per game.
None of the other sixth man winners in league history has averaged as much as Williams since the award was first given out in 1983 to Philadelphia's Bobby Jones.
Williams is the only player to average 20-plus points and five-plus assists off the bench since the 1983-84 season.
He was in the running for the award last season after splitting time between the Lakers and Houston Rockets, but Rockets guard Eric Gordon won. This season, however, Williams should be getting the trophy, which will go with the one he won while playing for the Toronto Raptors in 2015.
If he does win the sixth man of the year trophy, Williams would become just the fifth player to have won it more than once. Jamal Crawford won it three times — twice with the Clippers — and Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schrempf all won it twice.
So Williams is poised to join some elite company.
In the process of having this sensational season, Williams has made some changes to his games after 13 seasons.
The NBA scouting report said Williams, a right-hander, only went left to score. That changed this season.
"I think his biggest change is in the past, he's never gone right," Rivers said. "That was our challenge to him in camp. If you watched us in camp, we ran everything for him to go right, which he didn't like early on. Now, the fact that he can go right … you cannot allow him to go left, but now he can go right, and I think that's been good for him."
In case you missed it
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Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is much more than a cheerleader
(All times Pacific)
Friday vs. Cleveland, 7:30 p.m., NBATV
Saturday vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday at Chicago, 5 p.m.
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