In the midst of a rebuild, the Los Angeles Lakers made a move to bolster their asset stockpile Tuesday when they traded Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer and a first-round pick, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania.
Williams thanked the Lakers in a post on Twitter shortly after the news broke:
Lou Williams @TeamLou23
Thanx for the love L.A, I've enjoyed my stay.2017-2-22 00:41:52
Williams has long been considered one of the NBA's premier microwave scorers, and he's bolstered that status throughout the 2016-17 season. Through 58 games, Williams is averaging 18.6 points on 44.4 percent shooting from the field and 38.6 percent shooting from three in 24.2 minutes per game off the bench.
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN further illustrated the firepower Williams can provide on the offensive end:
Tom Haberstroh @tomhaberstroh
Points per 36 minutes this season 1. Russ 2. Isaiah 3. Boogie 4. Embiid 5. Harden 6. Kawhi 7. DeRozan 8. LOU WILLIAMS2017-2-22 00:48:22
However, the scope of what Williams brings to the table can't properly be assessed based on basic box score statistics alone.
The 12-year veteran has also been solid in catch-and-shoot and pull-up situations—especially when the Lakers offense has been enveloped by lethargy for the latter.
To date, Williams is shooting a robust 39.6 percent on catch-and-shoot threes as well as 37.4 percent on pull-up attempts from distance.
On the isolation front, Sweet Lou is netting 1.07 points per possession as a one-on-one scorer, which puts him in the 86.1 percentile.
When it comes time to shine in the fourth quarter, Williams has been something of a clutch savant. Although he wasn't able to single-handedly pull out wins for the Lakers on a night-to-night basis, Williams tried his darnedest to do so.
Now more than two-thirds of the way through the 2016-17 campaign, Williams ranks fifth among all NBA players in fourth-quarter scoring thanks to an average of 7.7 points per game in the final frame.
Aside from his obvious statistical offerings, Williams can also bring value as a steady presence in the locker room.
"He's more of a natural leader than he realizes," Lakers head coach Luke Walton said, according to the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina. "He's quiet and doesn’t always talk. But when he does, everyone listens."
|Lou Williams' Contract|
|2018||Unrestricted Free Agent|
Now a member of the Rockets, Williams will add an extra dimension of on-ball firepower to a Houston bench that has been humming throughout the 2016-17 season.
Eric Gordon has led that second unit effectively to the tune of 17.2 points per game, and he's knocked down threes at a stellar 38.5 percent clip.
ESPN Stats & Info illustrated how dynamic Gordon and Williams could be off the bench for Houston:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Most Points Scored off Bench - This Season Lou Williams 1,065 Eric Gordon 770 The 2 are now teammates2017-2-22 00:59:22
But where Gordon and Williams differ is in how they create their offense.
While 48.2 percent of Gordon's shots have come via catch-and-shoot looks, Williams relies more heavily on his own dribble to set up scoring opportunities. Specifically, 43.2 percent of Williams' shots this year have come via pull-ups.
And while streaky shooting has come to define Williams' play in the pros over the past dozen seasons, that's a quality the Rockets will live with considering he can turn the tide of any given game in a matter of a few possessions.
Once he acclimates to life in Houston, Williams should serve as a key fourth-quarter contributor with the postseason fast approaching.