Update: Mike Budenholzer announced in pre-game that Williams will not appear on back-to-backs initially, and that John Jenkins (not Shelvin Mack as listed below) will be inactive for his debut on Friday.
For the first time since the middle of the 2012-2013 season, Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams will be in uniform when the Hawks take the court against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
Coach Bud says Lou is available tonight but is not sure if he will play.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 15, 2013
The announcement from Coach Budenholzer (via the team’s official Twitter) came on the heels of Williams being upgraded from “out” to “day-to-day” on Thursday, and Williams famously Tweeted in cryptic form that seemed to indicate a quick return to the lineup. This is huge news for tonight’s game, but more over, Williams’ presence will be something to keep an eye for rotation purposes.
Chris Vivlamore of the AJC had this to say about Williams’ availability for Friday:
Williams playing time will be capped at 16 minutes.
— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) November 15, 2013
This report is somewhat in contrast to the official release that referenced an uncertainty of whether the 6-foot-1 guard would even take the court, but it’s also not a surprise to see a “pitch count” placed on Williams in his return. For my money, there would be no reason to activate Williams (on the first night of a back-to-back) without plans to play him, but crazier things have happened.
Moving forward, Budenholzer will now be charged with integrating one of the team’s best players (at least in my view) into a rotation that now features a young building block at the point in Dennis Schröder, and has been showcasing a lot of Cartier Martin in recent days. The advantage to Lou’s game is the ability to play both the 1 and 2 spots, but someone’s playing time is about to take a significant hit, and my guess is that Shelvin Mack will be “inactive” for tonight’s game.
Welcome back, Lou!