Lou Williams Wins 2015 NBA Sixth Man of the Year

The Toronto Raptors picked up their first piece of silverware of the year after Lou Williams was named as the Kia NBA's Sixth Man Award winner for the 2014-15 season. The guard has played a key role in the franchise winning a record-breaking 49 games this season, and Williams' form has now led to the 28-year-old winning the award for the NBA's best player in a reserve role. In doing so, Williams became the first Raptors player to win the award, capping what has been a sensational first season for the former 45th overall draft pick in Toronto.

In his 10th season in the NBA, Williams has been a real shining light in a Toronto team that has looked unplayable at times this year, racking up 78 first-place votes and 502 total points from the voting panel made up of 130 North American sportswriters and broadcasters. The guard, who signed for Toronto last summer, finished ahead of Boston Celtics' Isaiah Thomas and the Los Angeles Clippers' Jamal Crawford. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote, with players who have come off the bench in more games than they started eligible for the award.

The guard came off the bench in each of his 80 appearances for the franchise this season, averaging 25.2 minutes and going on to lead the team in scoring on 18 occasions, second best in the league for a reserve, with the Raptors going 14-4 in those games. Toronto are generally 66/1 in the NBA betting odds for the Championship going in to this post-season, but having players like Williams certainly bodes well heading into the next campaign.

Williams was effective almost everywhere when he was on the court, leading Toronto in free throw percentage and sinking a career-high 152 three-pointers during the regular season, doubling his previous best of 88 during the 2010/11 season during his time in Philadelphia with the 76ers. Among his numerous accolades during the season, Williams set a franchise record for points during a quarter in a scintillating 12 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers in which he racked up 21 points.

While Williams was a deserving winner of the award, Boston's Thomas will feel unlucky to have finished second in the voting. The 26-year-old has added a real offensive threat from the bench since making the move to the Celtics on trade deadline from the Phoenix Suns, and Thomas was unfortunate to have come up against Williams in the running for his season's Sixth Man of the Year. 

The point guard, selected 60th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2011 draft, wasted little time in winning over the Boston fans, averaging 19 points on an impressive 41 per cent shooting ratio and proving the franchise were right to trade Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round draft pick in order to acquire his services. Thomas' 34-point season-high performance against the Detroit Pistons in April resulted in the Celtics star being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, and the guard could have an even bigger role to play next season.

This article was written by Mark Wright.

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