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Spike Eskin Says: If You Want To See More Evan Turner, Trade Lou Williams

By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — I know, it sounds crazy. At a time when the Sixers are having more trouble than ever scoring points this season, specifically at the end of games, the notion of trading the team’s best pure scorer and number one end-of-game option seems pretty out of line. But at the risk of a hundred comments telling me to “trade Iggy instead,” I’m going to give this a try.

I think I should be clear that I don’t really think a trade during the season is particularly necessary for the Sixers. I’ve said time and time again that the most important result from this season is to grow the young players, and getting better. If Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner are the future, let’s see what we’ve got. Winning the division and a first round series would be a nice bonus, but don’t necessarily get the team any closer to its ultimate goal.

Trading a young piece of the team for a serviceable big man in the absence of Spencer Hawes is a short term plus but a long term minus. Trading Nocioni’s expiring contract most likely means you’re taking on a contract that isn’t expiring, limiting the team’s off-season flexibility in acquiring a major piece in a trade or free-agency. Doing that for a few more wins (even in a best case scenario) isn’t smart.

If you’re going to trade someone, trade Lou Williams.

Lou Williams is a nice player, and has been a good soldier. At just 24 years-old, he’s been a calming influence for the younger players on the team.

He is the team’s best pure scorer and end of game option. The problem is, he isn’t good enough to be the first thing, and he isn’t good enough to be the second either.

Williams has a clause in his contract that allows him to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He’ll either not be here next year, or will be overpaid to do so. I don’t want the team to lose him without getting anything, and I surely don’t want them to overpay him. They’ve already given Thaddeus Young a long term deal worth almost nine million dollars a year, and they’re not talented enough to have two guys making that much money off the bench. I don’t know that anyone in the NBA is.

Williams is the kind of player who would be extremely valuable on a good team that needs some bench scoring to put them over the top. He’d be a better piece for a team like the Lakers (just a random example) than he is the Sixers. Because of that, you may be able to get a spare big man on an expiring deal, or a late first round draft pick in exchange.

With Williams, what you see is what you get, he’s most likely as good as he’s going to be.

On the Sixers, he’s asked to more than he’s capable, and because of that, his weaknesses are exposed. He shows no fear, and has hit some big shots, that’s for sure. Lou’s given me a memories that will last forever in last year’s Easter game against the Heat, and this year’s win over the Lakers. But if you’re looking for him to be your regular fourth quarter guy to get you points when the offense has stalled and the defense has tightened, you’re going to be disappointed more than you are thrilled.

What you get in return isn’t the most important thing though. There’s addition by subtraction here.

By moving Williams, you’re also opening up time for Evan Turner to play with the ball in his hands. Williams is a natural scorer, but Turner is a natural distributor. One of the problems Turner has had, is that his responsibilities most often include playing without the ball because he’s playing with Williams. It also gives you more opportunity to play Turner and Holiday together, perhaps even giving Turner time at the point with Holiday at shooting guard.

Many people assume it’s Jodie Meeks who is taking Turner’s minutes. Though it’s true to an extent, their skill sets are different, and aren’t entirely interchangeable. Meeks is a shooter, and doesn’t need the ball in his hands. Turner could actually get Meeks more open looks. Until Turner gets his shot to fall more consistently, we can use all the shooters we can get.

Moving Williams will allow those end of game looks to go to Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. I want to see if they can do it. There will be growing pains, turnovers and misses, but we may find out there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

This isn’t anti-Lou, this is pro-Sixers. It’s pro-Turner and pro-Holiday and pro-future.

Will the Sixers win fewer games this season? Yes, almost certainly.

Will the Sixers find out just how good Evan Turner is? Yes, almost certainly. And really, that was the point of this year all-along.

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  • sharksbreath

    My worst fear. .


    There is a Lou Willams on every teams bench. Most teams don’t ask a 5’10 guard to win games for them who really only scores. The problem the Sixers have is that nobody wants what they got because they already have that player on the bench. It’s just that the Sixers have these guys as starters or are resigned them to contracts that nobody wants. If you want Lou you can get a Lou in the draft every year.

  • The Truth

    He goes out there scoring each and every night. And now, you guys want to trade him? Trading Lou won’t make us any better! He”s a candidate to win the 6th man award. Trade Igoudala! Who made all the points on Wilt Chamberlain 50th anniversary?

    • Doc

      It isn’t about getting better *now* – Lou Williams has does a good job but he’s not so good that he deserves a big contract, which means he walks next year.. In fact as Spike points out, his success comes from necessity more than anything – he *has* to score because no one else from the veterans can do it. He takes too many shots, and he often takes ill-advised shots (like threes from 4 feet behind the line!) – but that is his role here.

      Lots of guys can play that role though, and it would not make this team any better for the future. We *need* to find out if Turner and Holliday, as former first round picks, can handle the load as the team’s stars/foundation. Agree with Spike – best to get what you can for Lou and play Turner now.

      • sharksbreath

        Holiday is no star. No first step. Which mean’s he can’t get to the hole or get his own shot off enough. The best PG’s live in the paint. He not quick enough to beat people off the dribble to get there. He’s not a good passer either. Which is why his assists are so low. He’s really a back up two guard. I would rather see Gerald Green at the two than anyone on the Sixers. He wouldn’t cost them anything. If you notice Hollday only goes by people when he put’s them to sleep. How many people have you ever seen him face up and blow by. It never happens. My worst fair is that Holliday is on this team when Iggy contract expires. The Sixers have a history of overpaying guys they can get in the draft every year. See Thad. You can get a 6’9 athletic guy who can’t create his own shot every year in the draft. If they gave him 43 mil what do you think Holiday will want. Trade him and Iggy now.

    • Spike

      guessing you didn’t actually read the article?

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