Louis Williams steals spotlight vs. Pacers Wednesday nite. I have been watchin' him steadily improve with the arrival of Andre Miller and increased playing time. I have come to appreciate his quickness and ability to get his shot off in spite of his size. So it's got me thinkin' ... was his career high 18 points against the Pacers a sign that he has indeed turned the corner? Does Sweet Lou really deserve to be playing in the greatest basketball league on the planet?
The 18 points came against the Pacers (not the Pistons) and he was playing the shooting guard position (not the point guard position he is being groomed for). Mind you his success has come from lowered expectations. Its 2 years later and I still don't like the draft pick (2nd round 45th overall). To my dismay the Sixers did not send him to the D-league that year. More puzzling was their reluctance to give him any playing time. What was the point? Drafting a 2 guard then declaring he will learn the point makes no sense if you are not going to give 'em an opportunity to play. Drafting a high school baller to learn on the job makes even less sense. I am on record as approving of the NBA's 1 year removed for high school rule. NBA teams where just throwing away draft picks in a crap shoot. You can't convince me guys like Al Harrington, Kwame Brown, Darius Miles and the like couldn't have benefited from some time in college. Some might argue the 3 mentioned are still learning to be a grown up in a man's sport. Forget high schoolers like KG, Lebron an Kobi. No one was confusing Louis Williams for any of those guys.
So what does this emergence mean for Williams? The season has been a long tryout since Iverson's departure. The unspoken reality is that many players will be gone at season's end. If you're not good enough to be part of a rebuilding team ... how are you gonna make it anywhere else? Williams is clearly a player on the bubble. He's still very raw. To say he's turned the corner and belongs in the NBA is still uncertain. But he appears to have passed the audition. He's earned at least one more year to learn the point under the tutelage of a pure point guard. It's the last year of the 3 year rookie contract. next year he's got to do more than show potential. To get a new contract he has to turn the corner.