The Los Angeles Clippers‘ guard Lou Williams has been playing exceptionally well this season averaging, 22.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game coming off of the bench. Williams has made a career out of being a 6th man and has received NBA’s award for 6th Man of the Year in 2015, 2018 and 2019.
Williams has had his fair share of ups and downs in the league as he was drafted at a very young age straight from high school in 2005 by the Philadelphia 76ers as the 45th pick in the second round. After not being able to meet the team’s expectations, Williams was sent to the D-leagues in 2006. After just a month, the 76ers traded their superstar Allen Iverson and called Williams back up to the roster. Once Iverson returned to the 76ers in 2009, the two began to build a bond that later progressed into a mentorship.
As reported by NBA TV, Lou Williams and Hall of Famer Allen Iverson reflected on their bond in Philly. “He looked up to me. He knew how much I cared about him,” Iverson said about Williams.
“Over time we developed a relationship, that’s when it became more of a mentor and a mentee, where I would start watching things, he would show me things, he would talk about things,” Williams said. “He probably wanted me to get the full AI experience and that’s what we did. That’s saying a lot.”
Lou Williams and Allen Iverson’s Mentorship
The mentorship that developed between Williams and Iverson all started in 2009 when Iverson re-signed with the Philadelphia 76ers and bumped Williams down from his starting position. According to Marc J. Spears with The Undefeated, before Iverson’s return, Williams was given the opportunity to start on the 76ers’ roster. Williams took advantage of the opportunity and scored 18-points within his first 31 minutes of the game. As a starter, he was averaging 17.4 points and 5.1 assists a game.
Once Iverson returned, Williams no longer had his starting position. This did not start tension between them though, rather Williams took advantage of the opportunity to learn from the Hall of Famer.
“I learned a lot from just the way he approached the game. A little dude that would go out there feeling like he is 7-2. Being able to line up next to him, having the ability to compete with him, seeing how he competed for games, that was one of the career-changing experiences for me,” Williams said.
Iverson’s role on the 76ers solidified Williams’ role as a bench player for the rest of his career. Williams has embraced this title and has won 6th Man of the Year three different times, tying Jamal Crawford for the most 6th Man of the Year awards.
“I was put in that position. I had to walk it like I talked it. I had to mean it. That was the part that kind of stuck with me. I always wanted to be remembered as a team guy and not a selfish person,” Williams said.
Williams also surpassed Dell Curry’s record for the most scored buckets as a bench player on March 11, 2019 against the Boston Celtics. Williams scored 34 points tallying 11,154 points total. According to Anthony Koon of Heavy, Curry previously held the record with 11,147 points.
Williams has been fighting every game for the L.A. Clippers this season and has been hitting crucial shots. Last night against the Dallas Mavericks Williams trailed the teams’ dynamic duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists. The team will now take on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at 5:00 p.m.