Lou Williams is just 23 years old, signed to a reasonable long-term deal and has shown signs of being an excellent NBA player.
That sounds like the kind of guy a rebuilding team would want to get experience in this lost season.
But ever since returning from a fractured jaw, Williams has fallen behind Allen Iverson and rookie Jrue Holiday in crucial situations. Twice last week, Williams sat out the entire fourth quarter of close games.
“Two games in a row I haven’t played in the fourth quarter after being the leading scorer on our team in the fourth quarter for the past two seasons,” Williams said. “You know, I don’t really have an answer to that.”
Williams appears to have lost his role due to injury, something players hate. But Iverson’s presence has complicated matters. Using them together in the backcourt is a defensive disaster.
So, the choice has often come down to Iverson vs. Williams for coach Eddie Jordan. And that’s a battle Williams isn’t going to win.
“Allen is here to make a difference,” said Jordan, when asked why Williams was a bystander in last week’s loss to Portland. “We’re looking for [Iverson] to make a play and he didn’t necessarily have it tonight.”