Flying Under the Radar: Louis Williams

When Louis Williams entered the draft as a teenager straight from high school, he took with him two "Mr. Basketball" titles from the state of Georgia and high hopes for the NBA. After disappointing workouts, Williams fell all the way to pick 45 of the 2005 NBA Draft, where the Philadelphia 76ers picked him up.

Williams' professional career might have gotten off to a rough start, but the 21 year-old guard is putting up some gaudy numbers for the 76ers and he now appears poised to stick around in the NBA for some time.

The fact that he plays in Philadelphia is a big reason why Williams is often compared to former 76er, Allen Iverson, but at 6'2, 175lbs, Williams is starting to validate the comparisons. Like Iverson, Williams dazzles fans with his quick first step and ridiculous athleticism. He is undersized for his natural position of shooting guard, but Williams now uses that to his advantage and causes all kinds of matchup problems for opposing guards. He's too big for most point guards to defend and much too fast for taller guards to stop.

Averaging 10 points and 3 assists on the season, Williams has proven to be a valuable backup for the 76ers, as he comes off the bench to form an excellent duo with William Green, Philly's backup shooting guard. What has prevented Williams from becoming a starter hasn't been just the solid play of the starters ahead of him, Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala, but his lack of consistency. On some nights, Williams can be unstoppable, nailing jumpers with ease and playing with the poise and confidence of a young Iverson. Other nights however, Williams can be out of control and can force things too often.

Williams has had 11 games this season in which he has scored 17 or more points, but has had 20 contests in which he has scored seven or less points, a testament to his inconsistency. Williams also has less than a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, but for the brand of basketball he plays, it is certainly understandable.

Using his speed to his advantage, Williams gets a majority of his points by taking opponents off the dribble and driving to the rack. He has a decent mid-range jumper and can nail the open three, but he is certainly his most dangerous when attacking the basket. This could be trouble for the Orlando Magic, who face Williams and the 76ers on Friday night.

Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson has neither the size nor speed to hang with Williams, and while Keyon Dooling could get the job done, he might be preoccupied with 76ers guard/small forward, Andre Iguodala. If Keith Boggans and Mo Evans can handle Iguodala and free up Dooling to guard Williams, he should be able to neutralize the Georgia native. If Williams is allowed some space and is on his "A" game however, the Magic need to brace themselves for the electrifying guard.