Leading his team in scoring with an average of 15.5 ppg, Philadelphia 76ers guard Lou Williams sat down with NBPA.com’s Talia Bargil to talk about his squad’s success, improving his game, Doug Collins and much more.
Q: You’ve shown potential before, but why do you think things have really come together for you this season?
I think it’s a continuing progression, just getting better and better over time. The lockout actually helped me because it gave me time to rest up, take care of my injuries and get prepared for the season. My off-season routine was the same; I just started it a little later.
Q: The team is obviously off to a great start. What is the group’s chemistry like this year now that most of you are used to playing with each other?
It’s great. The main thing is that everybody gets along personally. The communication is better than it’s been because we are all comfortable to talk with each other, work through things and troubleshoot on the fly. We are a close group, and it transfers onto the court.
Q: What’s it going to take to keep the team’s momentum through the end of the season and post-season?
Everybody staying healthy. Basketball wise, we can compete with anybody out there, and we are getting even better as we continue to grow together. Coach Collins has done a good job keeping guys off their feet to rest and helping us take advantage of downtime.
Q: You guys are right up there as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Which teams are some of your biggest competition?
I think Atlanta, which is a team that is similar to ours. We will have to compete with them. Also Orlando, we’ve had some battles with them. Those two teams are measuring sticks for us to get over the hump.
Q: How did your stint in the D-League affect your game?
The thing I got out of it was not to take anything for granted. There are a lot of talented players in the D-League that deserve to be in the NBA, but their situation hasn’t worked out yet. So, not taking any part of the NBA experience for granted.
Q: How do you compare Coach Collins’ style of coaching to the other coaches you’ve had in Philly?
Coach Collins is more straightforward than the coaches we’ve had before. Coach Cheeks was a players’ coach and sometimes wasn’t the hardest on us. Eddie Jordan was definitely a players’ coach too. Coach Collins tells you what he wants from you, and if you can’t do that, then he has to go with someone else. He’s always very honest and direct, and I respect that. So far, it’s been working for us.
Q: It’s quite unique to be with one team for you entire career. Even though you’re a Southern boy, is Philly home to you now?
Philly is a second home. Atlanta is always my spot. When the season is over, I always run home. But I have a nice fan base here in Philly, and I’ve built good relationships here.
Q: Looking back, are you glad you decided to forgo college to enter the NBA? Are you planning to go to college at some point?
If I could do it all over again, I would do the exact same thing. If a 17-year-old kid has a chance to pursue a career that he’s been working hard toward, then do it. For me, I’m glad to have more NBA experience now, and it’s a testament that I’m still playing in the league today.
I’m not sure if I will go back to school, but I’ve done a solid job of saving money and being responsible with it. I might want to pursue something with coaching kids, maybe in the AAU circuit.
Q: Was there a veteran who took you under his wing when you were a rookie? And are there any young guys you ‘look after’?
Kevin Ollie was one of the main guys I look up to. He really taught me about how to be a professional. Everyday he was in my ear telling me about something. And also AI [Allen Iverson] – watching what he did on the court. Those are two guys that I looked up to.
I’m close with Evan [Turner]…I consider him my little brother. Sometimes he kind of spazzes out on the court, and I just tell him that it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. He responds well to that. I look out for him.
ABOUT LOU WILLIAMS
In his seventh NBA season, all with the Philadelphia 76ers (and a brief stint in the D-League), 6’2" guard Lou Williams was selected by the team in the 2005 NBA Draft. Touted as a tremendous high school basketball player at South Gwinnett High School, he was named Georgia’s “Mr. Basketball” his junior and senior year, as well as earned the 2005 Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award. The second all-time leading scorer in Georgia high school basketball history, Williams declared for the NBA Draft in 2005, and became Philadelphia’s first high school draft pick since Darryl Dawkins in 1975.