The Atlanta Hawks were ousted in the first round by the top-seeded Indiana Pacers. After a fascinating seven-round battle with the top seed, there have been arguments back and forth on whether it was a successful 2013-2014 campaign for the Atlanta Hawks; some say they had overachieved, some say they underachieved. Over the next couple weeks, we will break down the Hawks season and we will dish out grades for each of the Hawks players. Who played well, who was a disappointment, who will be back next year? We will dish out everything you want to hear about the Hawks past season, and what is to come ahead.
First, some quick requirements. We will only feature players that played in at least 10 games with the Hawks this season, so sorry Jeremy Tyler, James Nunnally, and Antawn Jamison; you were all part of the exciting journey in some capacity, but that is all the pub you will get in our season recaps.
Being evaluated today is combo guard Lou Williams.
Williams tore his ACL on January 21st, 2013, which was a huge blow to the 2012-2013 Hawks. When Williams went down, he was averaging 14 points per game and was Atlanta’s third leading scorer. 2013-2014 was another tough year for Williams on the road back from the major injury. Williams didn’t play his first game until November 15th, and was slowly worked into playing time, often times not playing two games in a row. The injury and the transition into playing time, and back into the rotation, seemed even more challenging as Williams was trying to adjust to coach Mike Budenholzer’s system on the fly. It became evident that Williams wasn’t going to be Budenholzer’s
go-to guy, receiving several nights with zero minutes played, and then found himself behind Shelvin Mack on the depth chart.
Shining Moment: Williams showed flashes of his old self; scoring over 20 points five times on the season. On December 20th, Williams tossed in 25 points in just 24 minutes. Williams made a season high six three-pointers on 10 attempts in a 33-point victory over the Utah Jazz. Just a week later, Williams scored a season high 28 points on 7-10 shooting and 4-7 from three in a two point victory over the Bobcats.
Letter Grade: C-: The shining moment segment of this review showed that Lou Williams can still play the game of basketball, and that is kind of what you want to see from a player coming back from a major knee injury, but his play this season was extremely uneven. Williams retained his ability to score points in bunches, but at times, he seemed extremely timid and not as aggressive in his attempts to drive to the bucket. Williams also didn’t shoot the ball as well as he has in the past. Although Williams never shot the ball for a terribly high percentage, you would expect a little bit better than 40% from the field and 34% from three-point land. Williams didn’t do anything anywhere else on the court to improve his letter grade; he is strictly a high volume scorer off the bench, and he didn’t flourish in that role this season. If you are into advanced metrics, Williams didn’t score well; posting his lowest PER since he 2005-2006, when he was 19.
2014-2015 season outlook: Williams is set to mike 5.5 million dollars in 2014-2015 with the Atlanta Hawks, but this could go a few different ways. Williams could be a candidate for someone to break out in his contract season, and come into training camp almost two years removed from his ACL tear and ready to put up a career season. On the other hand, Williams could be an ideal candidate for an expiring contract trade, so perhaps keep Lou Williams name handy in a couple weeks during the NBA draft. It remains to be seen where Williams fits in Budenholzer’s hierarchy.