The outlook wasn’t great for the Philadelphia 76ers entering the 2005 NBA Draft, which wasn’t looking particularly loaded with talent to begin with. However, they used their only selection at 45th overall on Lou Williams, one of the biggest steals in franchise history.
Lou Williams with the 76ers
Williams was never the biggest or most talented player in the NBA, but he didn’t have to be.
The 6-foot-1 sparkplug carved out a 17-year career as a defined role player, which isn’t common enough in a league fixated on star power.
The franchise had whipped through head coaches Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, and Jim O’Brien in the previous two seasons before drafting Williams in 2005. The Georgia native then played for Maurice Cheeks, Tony DeLio, Eddie Jordan, and Doug Collins before he left Philadelphia in 2012.
Despite the instability, the Sixers were able to groom a fan favorite at the beginning of his career. Local product Hakim Warrick even coined him as the “adopted son” of Philadelphia.
His approachable Southern persona, the constant involvement of his loveable and energetic mother, and his unlikely story as a high schooler drafted in the second round endeared him locally.
The Sixth Man
Williams and Jamal Crawford are the only two players in history to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award three times. He played in 89 playoff series in 15 appearances throughout his career.
The Athletic went so far as to call Williams “the greatest pure scorer the game has ever seen off the bench” in 2019 as he once again showed his value for the Los Angeles Clippers, his sixth NBA team.
A career average of 13.1 points in 24.1 minutes might not characterize a Hall of Famer. However, Lou Williams proved over the course of a long career that he was one hell of a basketball player.