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Lou Williams, Clippers


3 early bold predictions for Clippers guard Lou Williams in 2019-20 NBA season

Before the start of this summer, Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Lou Williams was probably the closest thing to a star player on the roster.

Williams won his second straight Sixth Man of the Year award (third in total) this past season after averaging over 20 points, five assists and three rebounds per game. In the first round of the playoffs, Williams dazzled the Golden State Warriors with a pair of 30-point double-doubles, executing the pick-and-roll with big man Montrezl Harrell to perfection.

However, Williams is hardly the face of the franchise any more, if he ever could have been considered that before. Los Angeles was aggressive in trading for Paul George and signing Kawhi Leonard, giving the Clippers and owner Steve Ballmer their best chance to win an NBA title.

Of course, Leonard and George will not be able to carry the Clippers to the title on their own. Luckily, Los Angeles retained most of the core players from the 2018-19 squad that went 16-7 after the All-Star break to reach the playoffs as an eight seed in the Western Conference.

That includes Williams, who is the oldest and most experienced player on the roster, but still has plenty to prove as he chases his first NBA title.

Here are three bold predictions for Lou Williams during the 2019-20 NBA season.

3. Averaging over six assists per game

Lou Williams actually just set his personal career high in assists per game this past year, dishing out 5.4 dimes per game. However, there is plenty of reason to believe he will improve on that average for this upcoming season.

The veteran shooting guard showcased what kind of playmaker he could be during the first round of the playoffs against the Warriors, twice topping 10 assists and averaging 7.7 assists for the series. Of course, his usage rate will not be as high as it was during that series, but that actually helps his case.

With George attracting far more attention on the perimeter and Leonard creating havoc on the wing and in the post, that opens up a ton of space for Williams to operate, especially in pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop.

Even if Williams runs more with the bench unit or Leonard and George miss a number of games due to load management, the Clippers are likely to have Landry Shamet on the second team, and bench players like Mfiondu Kabengele and Patrick Patterson can operate as stretch 4s.

The Clippers should have tons of floor spacing at all times, which is the perfect situation for a combo guard like Williams to make plays and find his teammates for open layups and jumpers.

2. 20 points per game

Did you know that since 1990, only four teams have had three teammates record at least 20 points per game? Not to mention, all four of those seasons belong to the Golden State Warriors?

So, this would be quite historical if Lou Williams maintained a 20-plus points per game average, given the expectation that both Leonard and George will average over 20 points per as well.

Still, it feels totally plausible that Williams can average more than 20 points for the 2019-20 NBA season. He is still one of the more gifted scorers in basketball, and now he should get even more open looks playing with Leonard and George.

Williams will still be counted on to lead the second unit and spell the two stars of some minutes — both of which should be locks for head coach Doc Rivers — so he will get numerous opportunities to fill it up.

1. NBA history

Since the Sixth Man of the Year was first introduced in 1982, no player has won the award four times, and no player has won it three seasons in a row. Lou Williams can do both should he win the award again for the 2019-20 NBA season.

If he indeed averages a career high in assists while still scoring at a high (and efficient) clip for what is likely to be one of the best teams in the league, there is no reason to believe he cannot win the award yet again and make NBA history in the process.