Lou Williams and the power of chicken wings

Analyzing the potential impact of lemon pepper wings on the Clippers' sixth man

Photo credit: By Flickr user: Andrew Nash Vienna https://www.flickr.com/people/andynash/ - Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andynash/5413160317/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22521075

Lou Williams left the NBA’s bubble in Orlando to attend a funeral of a family friend and sparked a national debate over his dinner choice.

While in Atlanta to attend the funeral, Williams stopped by a famous strip club, got photographed by a rapper, and now faces a lengthy quarantine on his way back to the NBA bubble.

Lou’s response? He was just looking for his favorite food.

To be fair, look at these.

Williams constantly praised both the club and the wings, so much so that the club named a flavor after him.

He told GQ in 2018 that chicken wings form one-third of his go-to cheat meal routine, and that consistency in those choices keeps him healthy.

It’s simple. I’m simple, man. It’s pizza, tacos, and chicken wings. I can rotate those, and my body weight never fluctuates. It’s always in the same neighborhood because I always eat the same stuff. It never changes.

Can the right order of chicken wings power an NBA player to greatness? Today, we’ll find out, one lemon pepper flat at a time.

please come back NBA we’re really stretching what qualifies as analytical research


Inspired by this deep dive into LeBron and Taco Tuesdays, I pulled every Lou Williams game from Basketball Reference and isolated two variables for consideration. For one, we’ll look at every game he played in Atlanta, either as a Hawk (from 2012 to 2014) or a visiting player.

We’ll also include a look at the games after those trips to Atlanta, theorizing that the digestion of these magical wings could translate to better production in the following game.

Yes, correlation and causation and all that nonsense, but I feel safe assuming that anyone with a flavor named after him orders wings consistently.

Wing Night means Win Night

On nights in Atlanta, Williams thrived, posting a career winning percentage of nearly 60%.

He only won 47.9% of his games outside the Magic City wing delivery radius.

If you filter out games where he played for the Hawks, he still won over 55% of his trips back to Atlanta as an opponent.

On an individual level, Williams shot more efficiently (46% field goal rate compared to 42%), assisted his teammates more, and rebounded better when the prospect of a late-night wings meal awaited him.

Here’s how his per-game stats look on these lemon pepper splits, calculated by the looking at the difference in production compared to his career averages.

If you discount the entirety of statistical significance testing and/or reason, you can easily paint a narrative. While he’s in close proximity to his favorite wings, he’s happy to rebound, set up teammates, and sit out a couple possessions and take less shots. He’s more ferocious at stealing the ball back from his opponents and empowering his own guys, with all stats other than points increasing in these wing nights.

Without that chance, he’s exchanging wing buckets for real ones, and focusing less on everyone else to the detriment of his team’s success.

Digestion is a killer

Noted philosopher and all-around brilliant villain Hans Gruber explained Lou’s predicament perfectly:

And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.

In games following a night in Atlanta, his winning percentage dips to 45%.

Lou Will dramatically scores and rebounds less. He’s nearly 15% worse on points produced and over 25% worse in rebounds, with only slight gains on the defensive end.

Proximity to those delicious wings may help Lou Williams’ production. The LA Clippers should take note.

How to maximize Lou in the bubble

Given the complaints and roasts about Orlando bubble food so far, the Clippers might need to get slightly creative to adequately appease their star sixth man.

Here are all the nearby spots that show up for lemon pepper wings by the Clippers hotel, including two gems a short drive away.

This anonymous guy may just win the Clippers the title.

LA must portion out these wings smartly to ensure proper production across their eight remaining games. This scientific analysis suggests turning the Lakers, Mavericks, and Nuggets games into potential chicken wing night, where the Clips will need additional firepower to combat the best of the West.

With this plan, the Clippers will spread out any potential post-wing impact in games against lesser opponents.

Steve Ballmer, you can send the job offer and/or championship ring to [email protected].

Real basketball comes back tomorrow, which means we’ll have actual games to discuss and data points to analyze. Thanks for sticking around during this crazy offseason, and hope you’re all doing well!