Sixers Stay or Go Series: Elliot Williams

According to my armchair GM decisions, the Sixers currently still have 2 starters (PG Michael Carter-Williams and PF Thad Young) and 3 backups (SG James Anderson, C Henry Sims, and SG James Anderson). I let Hollis Thompson go, and so far he’s been the only player that I’ve done that to. Now I will look at SG Elliot Williams, who played his first season with the Sixers last year and his second in the league.

Williams was a very similar situation to Tony Wroten in that he played very little in his first season and then was given a much larger role when he came to Philly. Williams actually took a year off in the NBA in between his first and second seasons. He played his first year with the Trail Blazers and averaged 6.2 minutes in 24 games, clearly not enough to give him real experience. But when he came to Philadelphia, he nearly tripled those minutes, so his stats should have tripled, right? Well, not really.

They certainly increased (most of them), but he didn’t exactly prove to the coaching staff that he deserved to play a lot of minutes. For a player that averaged 3.7 PPG for the Blazers and just 6.0 for the Sixers despite a huge minutes increase, there has to be something wrong. I’m not talking about an injury…I just mean that he’s not very good. His shooting percentage dropped from 50% to 42% in increased minutes and continued to struggle from long range. Not that he was really given enough minutes to make a huge impact, but when he was out there, he didn’t really do much for them.

He played 67 games for the Sixers and continued this run of mediocrity, but then started to improve greatly at the end of the year. They started to mix up the lineups a lot and gave other people more minutes, and Williams was one of them. And in those increased minutes, he scored very well. He had a run of 9 games in a row at the end of the season in which he scored double digit points after only scoring 8 times in double digits throughout the rest of the season. And in this stretch he averaged in the low to mid 20s in minutes and shot a lot better. He still didn’t contribute in any other category for most of those games, but at least his scoring was there.

I started to praise Williams for the way he came off the bench and helped out with the scoring, but at that point, the Sixers were so far into “I don’t care” mode that it really didn’t matter who was scoring. If nobody scored, they end up with about 50 points per game, and I think Williams was just one of the players to jump in there and try to make an impact. Unfortunately, with the Sixers looking to draft a SG at some point in the draft and with Anderson and Wroten already on the bench as shooting guards, there’s really no point in bringing back Williams, who has a team option for this year. It’s not that he’d be making too much money or anything, he just would never play.

Verdict: decline his team option and let him enter free agency

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