All transitions in life should go as smoothly as it has for 76ers guard Lou Williams in going from offensive spark off the bench to starting floor general.
Last year, Williams' role was to come off the bench and score, plain and simple. Now, with new coach Eddie Jordan and the departure of starting lead guard Andre Miller, Williams was handed the keys to start the newly implemented Princeton offense. So far, so good as the Sixers, who host the Boston Celtics at the Wachovia Center tonight, have won two of their first three games.
The numbers posted by the fifth-year guard suggest that the offense and his offense are a perfect fit.
Williams leads the team in scoring at 20.3 points per game, has made 63.6 percent of his shots and has averaged 35.3 minutes a game. He played a career-high 42 minutes at New York on Saturday and pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds.
But those aren't the numbers the affable Williams wants to discuss.
"I just concentrate on my turnovers, I'm not really worried about anything else," he said, following yesterday's practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
His concentration on not throwing the ball away has been rock solid. In his 106 minutes of play, he has just two giveaways and has dealt 15 assists.
"He's been good, man," Jordan said. "It's my responsibility that everything works. It's not on him. It's equal distribution of the ball, equal responsibility to run the offense by the guards. He's going out there with a great attitude; I like that. He's keeping us organized a lot more than I thought he would."
Said forward Elton Brand: "I think that the offense bodes well to his style. It helps him get open shots, flash to the rim, help him finish because he is so athletic. I knew for a while that he would flourish in the offense."
They'll need all of those skills from Williams tonight as the unbeaten Celtics (4-0) will present a stiff challenge. The last time the Sixers played an upper-echelon team, in the season-opener at Orlando, they got squashed by the Magic in a game that was far more out of reach than the 120-106 final score suggested.
"They are going to pound the ball inside," Williams said of the Celtics. "Obviously, Ray Allen is a huge threat, Eddie House coming off the bench is a huge threat, as far as three-pointers go. But the other guys are basically grinders on the inside. And that's the type of defense that we play. I think we match up better with a team like Boston, a more traditional team that tries to play out of the post."
Williams was referring to the other type of team the Sixers have faced so far this year in Orlando, Milwaukee and the Knicks, who like to shoot the three-ball. The three opponents combined to jack 91 treys against the Sixers, draining 40 percent. Tonight should be a little different.
But the Celtics will be facing a different Sixers team, particularly at the lead guard spot.
"I like his demeanor," Jordan said of Williams. "I like the way he stands up for his teammates. He never complains about anything, he has great body language and great facial expressions. He's so calm and that's what you need from your point guard."