Over the past seven NBA seasons, when Philadelphia 76ers' shooting guard Lou Williams was hot, it was worth the price of admission. Moving to his left and shooting off the dribble, driving the hole to create contact before releasing a floater, spotting up from the top of the key -- those are what Lou Will's fans will remember about his days in Philadelphia. It's evident Friday that those days are over. The Sixers have reportedly come to terms on a one-year deal with Los Angeles Clippers' shooting guard Nick Young, essentially all but guaranteeing the end of the Lou Williams era in Philly.
Knowing me is to pretty much know I was never a Williams fan, for the most part because of his inconsistency. If he wasn't hot, he was clogging floor space. He never played a lick of defense, and when his shot wasn't falling, he appeared timid on the court. Talented? Absolutely. The offensive answer to the Sixers' future? Absolutely not.
Nick Young is a spot up shooter. He's a career 37.8% three-point shooter. He averaged 14.2 points per game in the shortened 2011-12 season, splitting the year between the Washington Wizards and the Clippers. In Young, you aren't going to get anyone that replaces Williams' lack of defense. That's not his calling card. In fact, on paper, fans would probably ask what the difference is. To be fair, Williams is the more creative player. Young does not have the ability to draw defenders and get to the free throw line like Williams. But this move still makes sense.
Young reportedly will ink a deal worth upwards of $6 million for the upcoming season. Williams had an option year left on his contract for similar money. He opted out. Williams will command a longer term deal. The Sixers are prepared to give the offensive reigns of this team to point guard Jrue Holiday and combo guard Evan Turner. Their draft haul of athletic forwards Maurice Harkless and Arnett Moutrie, along with Thaddeus Young and the now likely return of Andre Iguodala leave the Sixers young, and even more athletic than this past year's version. While Williams is more creative, Young is a better kick out, spot up option than Williams ever was, and this team is going to run. If Holiday and Turner don't continue to improve offensively, they are only committed to Young for one year, and they can retrieve that cap space to find more scoring next offseason.
The Sixers have also reportedly decided to use their amnesty clause on forward Elton Brand, freeing up $18 million in cap room that could be used to extend Holiday's contract, or sign a veteran power forward that may be able to stay healthier than Brand. They have struggled in the half court, and during the playoffs, that will continue to be a huge issue. They're putting their money on Holiday and Turner being able to improve that game. They're putting their money on their youth in the front court making up for Brand's rebounding. They're building serious depth. They've relied on their bench to bring scoring the past two seasons, and their depth moving forward should allow that to continue.
Williams will move on, possibly to a team that he could start on. He'll continue to get hot on occasion. He'll look like Allen Iverson for a minute, and Ronald Murray the next. That's Lou Will. For those occasions he was hot, Philly thanks him.
Pete Lieber is a freelance writer and a Philadelphia sports enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter at @Lieber14.