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Lou Williams Still Big Part of Hawks’ Plan
Posted By Lang Greene On July 13, 2013 @ 9:29 pm In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The question surrounding the Atlanta Hawks as we dig deeper into the offseason is whether the team is simply restructuring in its attempt to join the league’s elite or is the franchise in the beginning stages of a lengthy rebuild.
Since the season ended, the franchise hired a new head coach in Mike Budenholzer, longtime Hawks starter Josh Smith departed in free agency to the Detroit Pistons and key reserve Zaza Pachulia left shortly after signing a three-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
With so much talent headed out of the door the Hawks’ current six consecutive season playoff streak may be in jeopardy. However, one player who still figures prominently into the team’s plan moving forward is guard Lou Williams.
Williams missed most of last season and the playoffs after he tore his right ACL, but says his rehab is on schedule and he can’t wait to get back on the court.
“I’m in a place where I’m just excited,” Williams told HOOPSWORLD of his recovery progress. “I feel like I’m close. Rehab is going very well. I’m just itching to get out there. I wish I could play summer league or any type of competitive basketball. I’m just excited to get back.
“My rehab has kicked up. We’re running and jogging doing basketball workouts. It feels like I’m close. Once you start the on court process at that point it’s just all about strengthening the leg and making sure it’s good to go.”
Williams says he’s spoken with Budenholzer about his role for next season and the coach has big plans in store which involve him mirroring former All-Star Manu Ginobili – a player Budenholzer coached in San Antonio.
“I spoke to [coach],” Williams said. “He wants me to play very similar to like he had [Manu] Ginobili in San Antonio. Just come in and give a spark off the bench, create plays for everybody and play hard.”
Budenholzer confirmed those expectations once Williams fully heals and believes the veteran guard can also become one of the Hawks’ top playmakers.
“Lou is a heck of a player,” Budenholzer said. “I’ve admired him from a distance. I’ve been competing against him for a long time. I think he has that ability to make plays for others and make plays for himself. He has a really high basketball IQ so when you put the ball in his hands you feel like something good is going to happen and that’s similar to how it is to a player like Manu Ginobili.”
Despite the ongoing changes to the roster changes, Williams remains optimistic about the Hawks’ future and doesn’t believe the team is in the midst of a large scale rebuilding project.
“I’m excited but I think we’re still building,” Williams said. “We still have a couple pieces that we need but it’s the nature of the business. Guys get switched around all the time trying to find the right fit for themselves. That’s natural so we have to use what we have and see how many games we can win with it.”
Williams averaged 14 points and four assists in 39 games with the Hawks last season, his first with the club after seven seasons in Philadelphia.
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