Lou Williams’ first week with the Houston Rockets has come and gone. How has the sweet shooting guard performed with his new team? Let’s dive in to his recent performances.
Yes, Williams is a negative on the defensive end (he is posting a minus-3.2 defensive box plus-minus for the season), but his shooting and play-making abilities have been instrumental for a bench unit that is routinely maintaining or extending leads.
With that being said, let’s look at how Williams has played during his first four games with the Rockets. Williams is averaging 19.3 points and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 42.9 percent on three-pointers.
While Williams is playing slightly more in Houston (25.3 minutes per game compared to 24.2 minutes per game with the Los Angeles Lakers), his usage rate has unsurprisingly decreased, from 30.6 in L.A. to 27.5 in Houston.
Williams has posted a 5.9 offensive box plus-minus, 62.7 true shooting percentage and a 23.4 PER in his first week with the Rockets, so it’s safe to say he has continued his elite play on the offensive end.
The Rockets have been missing a good corner three-point shooter on the bench unit for a while now, with Corey Brewer “filling” that role over the past two seasons.However, unlike Brewer (who is a career 31 percent shooter on corner threes), Williams is excellent from the corners, shooting 41 percent on such shots for his career, including 54 percent this season.
Another underrated aspect of Williams’ game is his play-making abilities. Per-36 minutes this season, Williams is averaging 4.6 assists per game, a very good rate for a score-first guard.
Remember that three-guard lineup I mentioned earlier? Well it’s doing pretty darn well so far. In the small sample size (22 minutes) it has played, the lineup of Beverley, Williams, Gordon, Sam Dekker and Clint Capela has a net rating of plus-41 (!!!) so far.This is mainly due to the incredible 153 offensive rating that lineup has, which makes up for its poor 112 defensive rating.
In fact, the trio of Beverley, Williams, and Gordon have posted a net rating of plus-23.8 so far in the 47 minutes they have shared the court, as a result of their incredible 128.9 offensive rating and above average 105.1 defensive rating.
Playing that trio more often will result in good things for the Rockets, especially the bench unit. It’s clear that Williams has fit in perfectly alongside the rest of the Rockets’ bench unit, as the team can now expect that unit to maintain or extend leads during games.
Moving forward, Williams should only get more comfortable playing alongside his new teammates. Eventually, Williams will get the ball in his hands more to create, making him even more of a force on the offensive end.
Lou Williams is just what the Rockets were looking in their hopes to take down the Golden State Warriors: a great shooter to play off the ball yet at the same time another creator and playmaker for the bench unit.
The Rockets have gone all in on using the three ball to knock off teams like the Warriors. Thanks in part to Lou Williams, the Rockets have a better chance of doing so now.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com