No, we are not talking about Anthony Tolliver. Sorry, Mr. Tolliver.
When it was announced that the Hawks signed Lou Williams to a 3 year deal, it was exciting. Williams was a high school sensation who had gone on to get good minutes and great production under his belt in Philadelphia.
He was an ideal acquisition for the Hawks. His ability to create his own shot was sorely needed as the Hawks scraped off the max contract of Joe Johnson. And that he was entering his Age 26 season meant that he would play all three years of the deal under the age of 30.
Williams was coming off his best season, a 20+ PER effort, but the Sixers let him go anyway and replaced him with Nick Young, a much less efficient scorer. Young signed a one year deal with Philadelphia for 5.6M, making it seem like Williams was obviously going to cost more to whoever signed him.
But when this 26 year old guard coming off a career year did eventually sign with the Hawks, it was for a presumed 3 year, 15.675 million dollar deal, making it look like a steal for new Hawks GM Danny Ferry. Being a local guy who could score and came fairly on the cheap, the potential was there for Lou to win over the fans of Atlanta as another 6th man, Jamal Crawford, had done before.
Williams has played well for Atlanta, showing a trademark hot streak of scoring. The team has leaned on him to play a lot of point guard with the health problems backup PG Devin Harris has had so far, 15 percent of the team's PG minutes so far, according to 82games.com. This is not an ideal place for Lou to be with the Hawks as it limits his freedom to move without the ball and score, his specialty - and the team generally suffers when he's in this role as well. This is despite generally good results when playing the point in Philadelphia.
Lou's shooting stats are up, thanks to making a higher percentage of three point shots and making more of them than in years prior. But his 18.2 PER is lower than last year's high mark of 20.2 due to an uptick in turnover percentage and a downtick in his ability to draw fouls.
Last season, Williams drew 134 fouls and attempted 916 field goals, again per 82games.com. This season, he's drawn only 45 fouls against 424 field goals attempted, a rate of 10.6%. That's again likely due to the 45% of Williams' shots this season being a contact-free (for the most part) three-pointer as compared to 29.5% last season.
Williams was/is a great signing by Ferry. His local status combined with his youth and high efficiency production makes him a good acquisition and then when one weighs the relative inexpensive nature of his mid-level deal for that production, it makes him one of the underrated signings in the NBA during the 2012 Free Agent period.