Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/17/14

For years Lou Williams has been one of the NBA’s best coming off the bench while quietly being one of the league’s most underrated players.

Those days are gone as Williams has posted a career-high 15.8 points per game for the surprising 26-20 Sixers, who lead the Atlantic Division over the heavily favored Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.

Philadelphia is headed to the playoffs, and if it can hold Boston, as the East’s No.4 seed, and the sixth-year pro is starring in a leading actor from an unlikely place: the bench.

Williams has started just 38 of his 437 career NBA games. He has been the definition of a bench player since the Sixers drafted him in the second round of the 2005 draft from South Gwinnett High School in Georgia.

In fact, Williams hasn’t started a game in two years. Those 38 starts came way back in the

’09-’10 season.

"Sweet Lou" Williams has been a scoring machine for coach Doug Collins and the Sixers this year.

Since then, “Sweet Lou,” as he’s referred to by fans, has been the scoring spark off the bench for veteran coach Doug Collins. In 75 games off the bench for Collins last year Williams averaged close to 14 points in just around 23 minutes of action per game.

This season Lou has been even sweeter for Collins and the 76ers. Williams leads the teams second unit, nicknamed the “Night Shift,” which also includes fellow pine rider Thaddeus Young and earlier this season Evan Turner. While Turner has moved on to the starting lineup, his mates haven’t missed a beat on the shift. The Sixers lead the league with 42.5 points per game off the bench. Philadelphia’s bench production is a main reason why the team has found themselves atop the Atlantic for almost all of the season.

But the man behind the Night Shift is Williams, who is always the first man off Collins’ bench. He’s shooting a career-best 37 % from behind the arc, all the while hitting big shot after big shot in the clutch. It’s rare for a team and coach to trust a player when the game is on the line who doesn’t even get the handle off the opening tip, but that’s what makes the Sixers and Williams so unique.

The Sixers are built around a team concept in every sense of the word. No player averages more than 16 points per game, they have six different players who average double-digits per game but boasts it’s leading scorer in Williams off the bench. Philadelphia plays team ball on defense,  leading the league in scoring defense at a shade over 87 points per game.

While the Sixers play light-out defense, the offense hasn’t been quite as outstanding. Philadelphia lacks a true “Superstar,” ala a Dwight Howard or Kobe Bryant. They rely on getting contributions from numerous players on offense, but without a go-to guy, the team sometimes slips into lulls on offense.

Those lulls end once Williams steps on the court.

Lou Williams 2012 highlights

He isn’t afraid to take, and make the big shot, just ask Kobe and his Lakers. Williams is among the league’s top scorers off the bench, and with former Sixth-Man winners Manu Ginobli, Lamar Odom, Jason Terry and last year’s winner Jamal Crawford having down years, the award could be up for grabs.

But the reason that Williams should take home the hardware is because of how important he is to the success of the Sixers. Doug Collins relies on his bench to give him around 40 points a game, and Williams nearly gives half of that total himself. If he didn’t, the Sixers would be scoring closer to the 87 point mark that they’re allowing on defense, which would result in far fewer W’s in the win column.

Williams should win because the Sixth-Man is about impacting the game from the bench, putting a stamp on it, and then sitting back down. And nobody is better at doing that this year that Lou Williams.

And if you don’t think he should win, well, I heard that he can be pretty persuasive.

 

**********************

For everything Sixers, follow me on twitter (@Duce_90)

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Celtics looking to make LeBron's life difficult in playoff series

WATCH: Luke Rockhold chokes out Lyoto Machida

WATCH: Masai Ujiri fires up Raptors fans with expletive

Andre Johnson: Signing with Colts not about revenge

Pete Rose joining FOX as baseball analyst

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce around time of relapse

Isaiah Thomas once peed himself to avoid subbing out

Report: ESPN employees want Britt McHenry fired

WATCH: Raptors fans shower Paul Pierce with vulgar taunts

Report: Vikings want first-rounder, starting CB for Peterson

Jarret Stoll arrested for possession of drugs

Report: Todd Gurley's knee checks out well in evaluation

WATCH: All 286 3-pointers Steph Curry made this season

WATCH: Devan Dubnyk makes great save while leaving net

Sabres GM not happy about losing draft lottery

Yordano Ventura ejected for plunking Brett Lawrie

Five early takeaways from the 2015 MLB season

WATCH: Cubs fan catches foul ball in beer cup, chugs it

WATCH: Cardale Jones throws ball 74 yards during contest

Shaka Smart was quite popular at the Texas spring game

Ohio State sets spring game attendance record

WATCH: Bubba Watson raps on Christian rap track

WATCH: Jags mascot wins closest to pin at Sawgrass

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce from wife

Report: McHenry's coworkers want her fired

WATCH: Raptors fans taunt Paul Pierce

Five things to watch in NBA Playoffs

Jarret Stoll busted for drugs

CJ Wilson: Hamilton is 'ready to go'

Leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase preview

Home runs ruined our ability to appreciate production

Why we love the NFL draft

The "worst" player on each NBA playoff team

Jim Harbaugh showed up at Ultimate Frisbee practice

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.