Hawks: Cam Thomas has been compared to Lou Williams, could he replace him in Atlanta?

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Lou Williams played an important role for the Hawks as Trae Young’s backup and eventual replacement when Young went down with a foot injury in the Eastern Conference Finals. Lemon Pepper Lou started two games in his absence and had an iconic performance in Game 4, dropping 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting and tacking on eight assists.

His veteran presence was important for such a young team, and though Williams hinted on Instagram that he would be returning to the Hawks next season, Travis Schlenk may have to look elsewhere for Young’s backup. Williams will be 35-years-old next season and is looking for a multi-year deal, which might be a little rich for the Hawks.

In a recent piece for The Athletic, senior writer David Aldridge reached out to NBA executives and college coaches about several NBA draft prospects. A college assistant coach whose team played the LSU Tigers during the 2020-21 season compared Cam Thomas’ scoring abilities to Lou Williams.

“He’s Lou Williams all over again. Professional scorer. You wasn’t rattling Cam. … Today’s game is they’re going to find you if they can’t defend. He’s strong. He’s a strong kid. Offensively, he’s elite. He got better this year letting other people play with his toys in the sandbox,” a college assistant coach who played LSU a season ago told Aldridge. “He’s going to have to play with some stars, where he can come in with the second group and do his thing. His legs are like oak trees. He don’t get fouled because he puts his head down; he knows how to get fouled. The rip through. He was shooting 10 free throws a game. He’s great at getting to his spots. Ropes in practice. He can shoot it from the (Damian Lillard) line. If you put him with the second team, he can get buckets like Cam Payne does. Cam brought the midrange back in college.”

What makes Cam Thomas so attractive is his ability to play both guard positions, which means he can play with and without Trae Young on the court. Thomas is a walking bucket, instant offense. He scored 23 points per game as a freshman last season, and while he only shot 32.5% from deep, his mechanics suggest he’ll have no problem becoming an effective shooter in the Association.

Thomas doesn’t have much prowess when facilitating, producing just 42 assists in his 29 college games, but he can score at all three levels, which makes it tough for defenses to take parts of his game away. He’s 6’4” and has more length than Trae does on defense, but he’s still questionable in that aspect. I doubt he falls to the Hawks’ pick, but Cam Thomas would be an immediate impact player for Atlanta if he does.

Photo: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire

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