Lou Williams is having the best season of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he will likely be on a relevant team by Thursday’s trade deadline.
Sources have told ESPN’s Ian Begley that upper management from the Utah Jazz have plenty of interest in Williams. At the fifth spot in a highly-contested Western Conference, this move would give the Jazz bench some much-needed pop. Utah is just 21st in the NBA in bench scoring at 32.1 points per game, according to RealGM. Williams is having a career year and the main reason the Lakers have the most bench points in the league at 51 points per night.
“Lou Will” is averaging career-highs in points per game (18.6), effective field goal percentage (52.7), free throw percentage (88.4) and, most notably, from deep (38.6). If the Jazz want to compete with the upper echelon of the West, they need to have more threats from outside to go along with perimeters shooters in Joe Ingles, Rodney Hood and George Hill.
Utah is an above average three-point shooting squad, as they are 12th in made threes per game, according to teamrankings.com. Lou Will only averages 24.2 minutes a night and is making a career-high 2.1 threes in that time. With Utah’s point differential already fifth-best in the league at +4.52 (according to sportingcharts.com), two threes could be a huge difference in contested playoff games.
As reported by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Lakers could make a move due to Utah having two additional first-round picks. They have the Golden State Warriors‘ in 2017 and the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s in 2018. After all, the Lakers are seeking a first-round pick for Williams’ services. The other key player in this trade scenario is the Washington Wizards.
Lowe also reported that Washington would consider giving the Lakers one of their protected future first-rounders for Lou Will. With the Wiz in desperate need of bench production (29th in the league), I would think they would push harder than Utah, who has more balanced scoring.
With Williams being able to backup John Wall at times at the point and also sit outside ready to pick-and-pop from deep, he could be really give the Wiz a lift for their playoff push. They are 21st in the league in made threes per game at 9.0, so the addition of Williams to the backcourt would help out Otto Porter Jr. and company get more spacing.
The 30-year-old combo guard has been making the most of his minutes with a career-best player efficiency rating of 24.1. That production could be huge against the top teams in the East. Nonetheless, you cannot ignore his poor defensive rating of 113 when considering changes to lineups for both potential suitors in this scenario. We shall see what happens in the next two days; I expect Lou Will to be the sixth man somewhere other than L.A.
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