Lou Williams has been a productive player since he was drafted out of high school by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2005 draft. He's been one of the NBA's best bench players the past two seasons, averaging 14.3 points, 3.4 assists and 2.2 rebounds.
But Williams has reached a multi-year agreement with the Atlanta Hawks, so the 76ers now must find a way to fill that void.
With Williams gone, who do the 76ers turn to?
In order to replace him, the 76ers need to figure out what they'll be missing without him. For the most part, what Williams did best was provide a spark off the bench and a capable, although not elite, defender.
By using the amnesty clause on Elton Brand, the 76ers should have some cap space to work with, some of which they've already used in finding Williams' replacement.
One thing the 76ers might miss is Williams' scoring, especially considering he led the team in player efficiency rating at 20.2. But the 76ers helped to replace that when they acquired Dorrell Wright from the Golden State Warriors in a trade.
While Wright may not average as many points as Williams, he could be a better option considering Williams only shot 40.6 percent from the field the last two seasons. Wright shot 42.3 percent overall and 37 percent from three-point range during that same span.
Philadelphia also inked former Washington Wizard and L.A. Clipper Nick Young to a one-year deal. Young should also help replace Williams' production. With a one-year deal, he also leaves Philadelphia the flexibility to look for a long-term solution next offseason or use the cap space to lock up some of its own players like Jrue Holiday or Evan Turner.
Will the 76ers be able to adequately replace Lou Williams?
Between Wright and Young, Philadelphia should be able to make up for Williams' offensive production. What they need now is a capable backup guard, preferably one that can play the point and provide some defense.
A few options still left on the free-agent market are Jordan Farmar, Rudy Fernandez, Jonny Flynn and Delonte West.
West seems like the best option of those four. He's the best defender of the group, and while he isn't necessarily a traditional point guard, he's more than capable of playing there.
Ultimately it looks like the 76ers will do what David Aldridge suggested: use a few different players to replace Williams. With Wright and Young, plus another free-agent acquisition, the 76ers shouldn't have a problem replacing Williams' production.
It won't be the same as having one super-sub like Williams off the bench. But it makes them a better team in the long run, because by having multiple players to fill the void, Philadelphia should have a deeper bench and more ways to use it.
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