Doc Rivers "was not having" Lou Williams Following 2017 Trade to L.A. Clippers
Since being traded to the L.A. Clippers in 2017, Lou Williams has been sensational. The 6-foot-1-inch guard was named Sixth Man of the Year in each of his first two seasons with the team, and he'd been playing just as well before the NBA season was suspended last month.
However, coach Doc Rivers wasn't immediately impressed with Williams when the Clippers acquired him from the Houston Rockets. On Thursday's episode of The Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman Podcast, Rivers spoke about his first impressions of Williams.
"When we traded for Lou, I was not having Lou," Rivers said. "I saw a guy that kept getting traded. And I appreciated his offense, but not nearly, never thought it was this good... When he finally showed up three days before training camp, I was not having him. I was like, 'We're not gonna work', you know?"
Rivers went on to discuss a meeting he had shortly after with Williams in his office, where he says his relationship with him changed.
"I brought him up in the office and I told him my feelings," Rivers said. "I said, 'Lou, you're one of these guys that wanna do whatever you wanna do, and you don't want to buy-in. We asked everybody to come in. Everyone did except for you... I don't know how this is gonna work.' And he said, 'I've been traded five years in a row. Why would I buy-in to you?', and I didn't have an answer."
Eventually, Rivers said he got Williams to buy-in by giving him complete freedom offensively so long as he was in the right place on defense.
That plan has allowed Williams to experience a resurgence late in his career. He's averaged career-best numbers in scoring and assists in each of the three seasons he's spent with the Clippers, and he's pulled off some incredible feats in that time as well, including a 50-point performance and a 30-point triple-double off the bench.
Had Rivers and Williams never bought into each other, both of their careers could be looking very different right now.