Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blazer Player Review: Mo Williams

Mo Williams is probably the most unexpected addition to the Blazers. He was a late addition on August 8th. After spending time with four other franchises Williams found his way to the Pacific Northwest. He has spent two separate stints in Utah, four years in Milwaukee, two and a half with Cleveland and one and a half with the Clippers.

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His best season was arguably in 2008-09 when he started in all 81 games he played. He shot 91.2% from the FT line and scored 17.8 PPG. That year was his second best shooting percentage from the field at 46.7%. He also hit 43.6% of his three point shots that year. His career high in assists came in 2010-11 when he averaged 6.5APG, he averaged 7.1 per game with Cleveland and 5.6 with the Clips. He hasn’t been a great rebounder since 2006-07 in Milwaukee when he gathered in 4.8 rebounds per game. That year with the Bucks he also gathered his best steals per game with a little over than one.
Every year since that great year with Cleveland, Williams has declined. Now that wasn’t his choosing or his doing. He got fewer minutes, fewer games played and fewer games started. Williams is coming to Portland off not his best season. He did start in every game he played (46 games) and he averaged 12.9 points, 6.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Now, I don’t want to pick on Williams because he is a great player and he fortifies the PG position behind Damian Lillard. One of the biggest upsides for Williams is that he has four different appearances in the playoffs, his best stint? You guessed it, in 2009 with Cleveland. He averaged 16.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He shot 37.2% from downtown, 40.8% from the field and 76.7% from the FT line.
With even more veteran presence off the bench with Williams, Earl Watson and Dorell Wright, the Blazers will be better prepared going into the season. If the Blazers can make the playoffs like they hope to they will need to use the knowledge of all the older players about what to expect when they get a seed. Last year with Eric Maynor, fans and the players thought they could make a run, well we all know how that worked out, 13 game losing streak to end the season. Now I am in no way putting that on Maynor, but with three well established and well respected veterans in Williams, Wright and Watson the Blazers can better prepare for a full season geared towards the playoffs.
Williams will be the only logical choice at backup PG because as I mentioned, C.J. McCollum is not ready to be an NBA PG (even as a backup). Williams will be Lillard’s best mentor and will provide coaching on the court for the Blazers second unit. Terry Stotts has had Williams before and he will know how to use him. Depending on how Stotts wants to play it, he can even have Damian and Williams on the court at the same time just like last year with Maynor and Lillard.

With Williams coming off the bench the Blazers second unit has a legitimate chance of contending with other teams’ second units. He can provide the spark necessary to win the battle of the benches and win game after game. The biggest reason the Blazers need a good bench is for those back-to-back nights or even back-to-back-to-back games. With bench help the starters will have more energy every night to contend and go all out for a reduced amount of minutes. Williams’ biggest contribution will be reducing Lillard’s amount of minutes, which in case you forgot Lillard lead the NBA in minutes played.