The Good and Bad of a Lou Williams Trade
Unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors, who have at least one — if not four as the Warriors do — superstar player on their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers have none.
They don’t even have a player participating in the All Star game. The Lakers do however have a valuable scorer that is probably the leading getter for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award and would instantly become an asset to any title contender.
That of course is Sweet Lou Williams, the team’s leading scorer and most reliable offensive threat. Although the team is technically still in playoff contention, the Lakers wouldn’t get by the first round. With the NBA trade deadline (Feb. 23) a week away, teams around the league are going to be calling expressing interest in trading for Sweet Lou.
Williams is an instant scorer off the bench that has a feel for offense that not many players do. This season, Williams is averaging a career high 18.5 points per game in just 24.2 minutes. He’s also shooting 44.2 percent from the field. Teams that need an instant scorer are going to be calling Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack about Williams.
But by the looks of it, Kupchack is already of the game and shopping Williams. HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy is reporting that the Lakers front office has called other teams about trading Sweet Lou.
“In this recent video, I mentioned that the Los Angeles Lakers may look to trade Lou Williams and/or Nick Young. On Tuesday, a general manager confirmed that the Lakers have, in fact, shopped Williams and seem likely to move him prior to the deadline,” Kennedy wrote.
If the Lakers do decide to trade “Sweet Lou,” they would essentially be trading away their best player. If they don’t, then their stuck with him and potentially worsen their chances of landing a lottery for the third year in a row.
With that said, let’s explore the good and the bad of a possible Lou Williams trade.
There are plenty of things to like about the Lakers shipping out Williams. For one, the team could acquire some good young pieces or even snag some draft picks in a trade. Two, if they do ask for picks, the odds of them retaining a lottery pick in the draft significantly increase.
That idea gets even better when you throw in the possibility of the Lakers going after UCLA’s stud freshman point guard, Lonzo Ball. Ball is a local product out of Chino Hills High School and has changed the culture at UCLA. He is a huge reason why the Bruins have only lost three games and are averaging 91.9 points per game, the highest in the country.
He has said that he is one and done at UCLA and is already considered to be one of the first three taken in the 2017 draft. Last week, new Lakers adviser Magic Johnson attended the Bruins game against Oregon.
One might argue that they see a lot of Johnson in ball; he’s got the game and swagger to top it off. The 6-foot-6-inches guard has great vission and passing abilities, then you throw in his Steph Curry range and you have everything the new NBA is in one player.
Trading Williams only makes the Lakers lottery odds better, because the team will lose more games and have more trade bait to move up in case they don’t get a lottery pick.
Then, if you get Ball, you have a lot of young talent that the team could use for a run, or shop for a high scoring veteran or superstar like Anthony Davis or fellow Bruin, Russell Westbrook.
On with the bad.
The Bad-you lose the best thing you’ve got
All season long, the Lakers have been marred by consistency. Whether it’s injuries, inability to close out games or the growing pains of a young team, the Lakers have lacked a consistent identity.
Aside from rookie Brandon Ingram, who like Williams has played in all 58 games this season, Williams is as close to consistency as it gets. You lose him, you lose your best scorer.
In the short term, the team’s quality of play reduces. In the long term, the Lakers set themselves up with a roster loaded with young talent and a young coach that has changed the culture inside the locker room.
Johnson has already said that the Lakers are “three or five years away” from being a true contender in the West.
Some might argue that this would be the first step to getting there.