The job description for Lou Williams usually involved something pretty simple.
Score the basketball.
In his first season of a three-year, $21 million deal with the Lakers, it turned out Williams’ role became much more than just averaging 15.3 points on 40.8 percent shooting in in 67 games.
Williams competed for minutes with the Lakers’ young core with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. Williams eventually started over Russell 20 games into the season only to lose the spot shortly after the NBA All-Star break. During that time, Williams became one of the team’s most vocal leaders behind the scenes.
“I still think there’s potential there,” Williams said following his exit meeting on Thursday at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “The upside is brighter than what it’s shown. I feel like we have a lot of potential.”
Yet, Williams did not walk away with too many positive impressions. The reasons went beyond the Lakers finishing 17-65 in what marked their worst record in franchise history. Williams also contended,” “sometimes I felt like we weren’t hungry enough.”
He then shared that he often preached that his younger teammates should have adopted some of his mindset during his 11-year NBA career. Then, Williams often found ways to motivate him besides winning, such as embracing potential Sixth Man of the Year matchups with current teammate Nick Young when they played on opposing teams.
“Sometimes I feel like we didn’t look at games like that when our younger core was playing against their peers,” Williams said. “At the same time, we have guys that are right up there with other guys that are having success in this league. They just have to understand how to do that every night.”