Clippers' Doc Rivers: 'All Indications' Lou Williams Will Play in NBA Restart

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10: Lou Williams #23 talks to Head coach Doc Rivers while playing the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on January 10, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. 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 John McCoy/Getty Images)
John McCoy/Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday "all indications" suggest shooting guard Lou Williams will take part in the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida. 

Rivers told reporters he expects the full Clippers roster to be in attendance in Orlando despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests.

Williams' agent, Wallace Prather, told Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times last week his client was still "50-50" about whether to play after expressing his desire to keep his focus on social justice issues.

"If we really about that, if we really about this cause we don't need anything distracting us, whether it's football, baseball, LeBron James, Tom Brady, whoever. We don't need any distractions," Williams said. "That's what I was trying to get across from everybody. But again, we don't know what that look like in six weeks so we'll see."

The 33-year-old Tennessee native's decision could have a major impact on the Clippers' title chances.

He's a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, including each of the past two seasons with L.A., and he was enjoying another strong campaign before play was halted March 11. He averaged 18.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 threes across 60 appearances (eight starts).

Williams ranked third on the Clippers in scoring behind Kawhi Leonard (26.9 PPG) and Paul George (21.0). The team is second in the Western Conference with a 44-20 record behind only the rival Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), and it's already clinched a playoff berth.

Williams has been a key figure in the racial equality movement within the NBA. He suggested painting Black Lives Matter on the courts in Orlando during an interview with CoStar (h/t Kurt Helin of NBC Sports), and the NBA has adopted the idea:

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

Reporting with @ZachLowe_NBA : The NBA is planning to paint Black Lives Matter on the court inside both sidelines in the arenas it will use at the Walt Disney World Resort when it resumes the 2019-20 season late next month, league sources told ESPN.

If Williams plays in the restart, the Clippers should remain among the top three title contenders along with the Lakers and NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12).

The team's outlook becomes more cloudy if the veteran guard sits out. It would place more pressure on Landry Shamet, Reggie Jackson and Rodney McGruder as the top wing scorers off the bench to provide scoring depth behind Leonard and George.

L.A.'s first game back is scheduled for July 30 against the Lakers.