NBA awards are rarely won in January, but Lou Williams has submitted a resume that sits in the top spot for Sixth Man of the Year.
As the LA Clippers continue to move back to playoff contention, it cannot be discounted how Williams has kept the team afloat amidst a staggering number of injuries. The team is still facing injuries, namely to Danilo Gallinari and Austin Rivers. However, Williams paced the team in Blake Griffin’s absence, and the power forward’s return has enabled the Clippers to get over the hump.
The volume scorer has also had to fill in for Chris Paul, the player for whom Williams was traded. He has done so remarkably well, averaging 30.6 PPG over the Clippers’ last five contests. More so, he scored 40 points in a comeback victory over the Charlotte Hornets, helping the Clippers overcome a double-digit second-half deficit, and 33 in a narrow win over the Memphis Grizzles, a team that has foiled LA this season.
Williams has put forth excellent numbers, especially for a Sixth Man candidate. However, his timeliness goes beyond the box scores. He’s enabled the Clippers to stay in contention, when they easily could have lost 4-5 more games.
“We want to make the playoffs,” Williams told reporters following the win over Memphis. “It’s really important, right? But we’re in a good rhythm right now. We’re playing really well. We just want to keep going, keep going with the momentum.”
As it stands now, the 17-19 Clippers are just one game out of a playoff spot, and they are within two games of the sixth seed. If the team can maintain its health, there is no reason why they can’t push into the top eight seeds in the Western Conference.
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