Lou Williams' roller coaster season continued on Friday as he was finally back in the Atlanta Hawks' rotation because of an injury to Kyle Korver. Unfortunately, Williams didn't turn in a performance that necessarily suggests he needs to be back in the rotation.
Williams played just under 15 minutes in Friday's 111-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans and finished with two points on 1-4 shooting. He committed two turnovers and failed to hand out an assists. Perhaps a more telling stat is that Atlanta was outscored by 18 points with Lou on the floor. Now +/- stats in a single game situation don't necessarily tell the entire story as they don't reflect who the player is on the court with.
However, Lou's +/- for the season is at -2.8 which suggests that night's like Friday night have been closer to the norm. Williams returned to action in late November following last season's ACL injury. He saw his playing time increase over December and January and topped out at 27.4 minutes in February. Williams averaged 10.9 points in 12 games that month but many of his shooting numbers weren't good or took a dive with the increased minutes.
This is where the numbers can be somewhat deceiving. Williams scored in double figures for seven straight games from February 18 - March 2. He averaged 14.4 points per game on 40 percent shooting. He did manage to get to the free throw line more often and was converting at a good clip. It was clearly the best offensive stretch of Williams' season except it wasn't leading to success for the Hawks on the court.
Most of Williams' problems come on the defensive end of the floor. He is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body. His defensive rating for the season is 110.6. Since the All-Star break that number balloons to 120.2. His net rating on the season is -5.0. That means that over 100 possessions with Williams on the floor the Hawks have been outscored by five points. Since the All-Star break William's net rating is -16.3.
A lot of that has to do with the team's performance. Lou finds himself out of the rotation now due to Mike Budenholzer looking for a combination that works. Once you look at the numbers, its not too difficult to figure why he's the odd man out.