Dec 31, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Mo Williams (25) handles the ball while defended by Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher (6) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mo Williams, Mo' Problems?

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Jan 8, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Mo Williams (25) shoots over Orlando Magic power forward Glen Davis (11) at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the stats do lie. Sometimes a player’s value cannot be seen by merely pulling out box scores and checking how they did that night, you have to watch the impact they have on their team’s play whenever they are inserted into the lineup. Mo Williams has been a perfect example of this for the Blazers this year.

First of all he was a steal in the free agent market signing a 2-year deal worth $5.6 million; the second year having a player option. It was this player option that thrust Mo into the news this week as he told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com that he will in fact opt out of his 2014-15 option that would have paid him a cool $2.7 million. Here’s the direct quote:

“I would like to be here long-term. My goal is to work something out with Portland this summer. I like it here and I want to make this place home.”

Some, like Dwight Jaynes — also of CSNNW.com, chose to highlight Mo’s shortcomings (here) rather than talk about what he has done well. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, this article came out the morning after Mo made his announcement regarding opting out of next year’s deal. Mo and Jaynes had a short “twitter beef” regarding his ranking among backup point guard’s as well.

 

The tweet’s link adds “name four back-up PGs better than me…don’t worry, I’ll wait”. Jaynes was quick to respond.

 

For the record, I completely disagree with Jaynes here. Mainly for the salary that the Blazers are paying him, you just aren’t going to find that kind of quality and leadership from a point guard off the bench. Manu, Sessions, Miller, Jack and Evans are all making at least double what Mo is making this season (and beyond) so it seems a little childish for Jaynes to go back and forth with Mo like this but he did back up his stance in the article referenced above, so to each their own. Mo must have decided he was done with it because here was his final response.

 

Again, if you’re going only based off of stats, then you might in inclined to agree with Mr. Jaynes. Mo is playing 24.4 minutes per night and his shooting his lowest overall percentage from the field (40.7) since 2010/11, his lowest from 3-point range (35.9), and his lowest percentage from 2-point range (43.5) since his rookie campaign back in 2003-04. The numbers certainly aren’t pretty, but his play and leadership have been noticed by many; including his coach.

“Mo has been great,” Stotts told CSNNW.com. “He came in and understood his role. I think he has flourished in his role. I’ve said many times that I think he’s the best backup in the league, which is what we needed. He’s been able to help Damian on and off the court. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Mo.”

Where they are today is second in the tough Western Conference at 28-9 only a half game behind the San Antonio Spurs (28-8). One thing is for certain, Mo has been great off the bench and his value cannot be overstated to this point in the season. If Mo wasn’t on this roster the loss of C.J. McCollum back in training camp would have been a huge loss, and to this point it has been relatively harmless.

C.J. is back and showing that he can make an immediate impact, so Mo’s value from this point forward could take a slight hit making him expendable in the off-season. C.J.’s first game back was Wednesday and he managed four points in his debut. Saturday night he put up 10 points — in both games he only played 14 minutes, so Stotts is bringing him along slowly.

Keep in mind the Blazers have ZERO draft picks in the 2014 draft — their first round pick is headed to Charlotte and their second round pick is going to Denver — so keeping Mo will probably be off high priority for them. However, if McCollum shows the kind of traits that Mo has, then they could let him walk depending on the terms of his contract demands. As with most things, time will tell, but as Mo said in his tweet “lets stay focused”, because this team is doing something special right in front of our eyes.

**You can contact Chris about this article or anything basketball related on Twitter: @Chris_Reichert

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Tags: Cj Mccollum Mo Williams Portland Trail Blazers

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