NBA Free Agents 2012: Lou Williams Addition Proves Atlanta Hawks Want to Win Now

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 27: Lou Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers in action during the game against the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center on October 27, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images


For a moment there, it looked as though the Atlanta Hawks were on the fast track to a massive overhaul.

Sending Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets certainly wasn't a bad decision, but it suggested that new general manager Danny Ferry preferred cap room to the kind of win-now zeal that can get teams' finances in trouble.

Apparently, he's not so committed to that cap room that he'd pass up an opportunity to significantly upgrade Atlanta's rotation.

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, he Hawks have reached an agreement with former Philadelphia 76er Lou Williams.

The importance of Williams' acquisition shouldn't be overstated.

He's not big enough to be a full-time shooting guard, and he doesn't defend or pass well enough to demand a starting position. Jeff Teague will almost certainly remain the starting point guard, and Joe Johnson's replacement in the starting lineup remains uncertain.

That said, he's an exceptional sixth man.

He averaged 14.9 points in just over 26 minutes per game, and he's capable of scoring from virtually anywhere on the floor—even if not very efficiently.

Williams isn't the purest of shooters, but he's crafty with his pump-faking ability and excels at getting into the paint and drawing fouls.

At this point, the Hawks will need points any way they can get them and can't afford to be too choosy.

Whatever difference Williams ultimately makes, there's no question he puts Atlanta in a much better position to win.

Ferry came to the front office with a mandate to put the team in a position to make some moves down the road, but that's clearly not his only priority.

He also has to ease the anxiety of guys like Josh Smith, who becomes a free agent after the upcoming season. The 26-year-old forward is a key piece to the Hawks' future, but he needs to be reassured that there will in fact be a future for which he should hang around.

Adding Lou Williams alone don't guarantee that, but it's a sign of what this organization is willing to do. That's good enough for now.