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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Williams spent time with three teams in two years before inking a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the Cavs last summer. With Kyrie Irving sidelined for the first 24 games of the past season, Williams was thrust into an increased role, teaming with Matthew Dellavedova to absorb most of the minutes at point guard. In Irving's absence, Williams averaged 13.0 points, 4.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three-point range. Upon Irving's return, however, Williams was pushed out of the rotation, and he saw the court in only 21 of the Cavs' final 59 games. With Dellavedova signing with the Bucks in the offseason, Williams would have been in line for a consistent role as Irving's backup this season, but the 33-year-old decided he wasn't interested in sticking around for another year. After wavering on the decision throughout the offseason, Williams eventually opted to retire prior to the start of training camp, ending a productive 13-year NBA career.
He's back! After five years away from Cleveland, the high-scoring guard has returned. In this case, it isn't LeBron James but Williams, who joined James in Cleveland from 2008 to 2011 before getting traded to the Clippers for a draft pick that eventually became now teammate Kyrie Irving. Last season, Williams split the season between Minnesota and Charlotte, where he averaged 17.2 points for the offensively challenged Hornets. His season averages between the two teams were 14.2 points, 1.8 three-pointers, 2.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 29 minutes. He hit just under 40 percent from the field and 87 percent from the line. Williams figures to be the primary backup for Kyrie Irving with the 2015-16 Cavaliers. Since Irving often gets hurt, He could find himself in the starting lineup. While he doesn't have the ability to penetrate like Irving, the 32-year-old guard can hit open three-pointers and has converted 38 percent of his long range shots over his career. Over the last three seasons, Williams has come off the bench in the majority of his games, so a reserve role will not be a big adjustment for the 12-year veteran.
It may be surprising that Mo Williams is only 31 years old (turning 32 in December), since it feels like he has been in the NBA for forever. The well-travelled Williams joins the Timberwolves on a one-year contract after spending last year as Damian Lillard's backup in Portland. As Williams enters his NBA dotage, he will likely find himself in reserve duties. As a Blazer, Williams appeared in 74 games off the bench, his most games played since 2008-09 when he was on the Cavaliers. He averaged 9.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.1 three-pointers, and 0.7 steals in 25 minutes per game last season. Williams converted 42 percent of his field goals, 37 percent of his three-pointers, and 88 percent of his free throws. Backing up Ricky Rubio, Williams will offer coach Flip Saunders a much different look. The 12-year veteran is not afraid to take shots and has hit 39 percent of his three-pointers over his career (better than Rubio's career field goal percentage). No one has ever confused Williams with a stout defender, and his point guard skills can be somewhat overrated. However, he can be used in deeper leagues for his points, three-pointers, and assists. If Rubio were to miss games, the former Buck and Cavalier could slide into the starting lineup and provide decent value.
Williams moonlighted as the Clippers’ sixth man last season, scoring 13.2 points in 28.3 minutes per game. He’ll return to Utah, the place where he first began his career, and figures to be handed the starting job going into the regular season with Devin Harris being shipped to the Hawks this offseason. Given his adeptness as a volume scorer, Williams probably profiles better as a sixth man at this stage of his career, but he did manage to post decent assist totals during his previous starting experiences. He averaged 5.6 assists per game as a 22-game starter for the Clippers in 2010-11 and should hover around that number with the Jazz. Williams’ career shooting percentages from three-point range (38.7 percent) and the free-throw line (86.9 percent) further build his case as an enticing fantasy point guard. Even if Williams struggles out of the gate, he’ll likely have a long leash since his backups – Randy Foye, Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley – are all underwhelming veteran options with limited ceilings.
Williams scored over 15 points per in 22 games (all starts) after being traded to the Clippers, hit over 42 percent of his shots and just under 40 percent of his threes. Curiously, though, his assist average dropped from 7.1 as a Cavalier to 5.6 as a Clip, despite the fact that he was playing three-and-change additional minutes per game. It will be interesting to see if he can hold onto the starting job or that many minutes; it seems reasonable to expect Eric Bledsoe to take over the position at some point, maybe as soon as this season�s opener. Williams would probably continue to have value even as the Clippers� third guard, but primarily as a source of threes.
Floating out on the perimeter, hitting jumpers when defenses were preoccupied with LeBron James made Mo Williams an all-star. What can we expect from Williams, now that LeBron is in Miami? Williams' numbers from his last season in Milwaukee may be a guide. In 2007-08, he averaged 17.2 points and over six assists per game, with 3.5 boards and 1.2 steals, and shot .480 from the field. Those numbers top anything he ever did in Cleveland. The only area of Williams' game that improved significantly during his run with the Cavs was his three-point shooting: .385 in his final season with the Bucks jumped to over 40 percent in each of his seasons as LeBron's running buddy. It seems reasonable to expect similar numbers from Williams this season; leading a less-talented team, with Antawn Jamison as the only other established scorer, Williams will be under more pressure to score, but without James to draw the defense, he'll have to take lower-percentage shots more often.
When LeBron James is running your offense from the wing, you don’t need a point guard to initiate the offense and rack up big assist totals; you need him to score. That role proved to fit Mo Williams perfectly last season; he emerged as an excellent complement and second option for LeBron’s Cavs, posting new career highs in scoring (17.8 ppg), field goals, free throws made and attempted, three pointers made and attempted and three-point shooting. Williams might not have the same opportunity for this year’s Cavs; that big fella O’Neal Cleveland is bringing in will probably want to shoot every now and again. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Williams loses a point or two off his scoring average, though he should keep his status as one of Cleveland’s top options from the outside.
With Milwaukee adding Richard Jefferson to a team that already featured Michael Redd, a scoring point guard like Williams became expendable. But in Cleveland, Willaims’ skill-set might be a great fit. The Cavaliers desperately needed a legitimate point guard and second scoring threat to complement LeBron James, and Williams should provide both. He averaged 17.2 points and 6.4 assists per game while taking the second-most shots for Milwaukee a year ago. If there’s a knock on him, it’s that he’s somewhat selfish and looks for his own shot too much, but his shooting percentages have improved over the years, and he’s a legitimate 3-point-shooting threat who should create more room for LeBron. James will be the primary initiator on offense, so we don’t see Williams’ assist numbers rising too dramatically, but as a scoring point guard, he should be one of the best.
Williams exploded in 2006-07, averaging career highs in points (17.3 ppg), assists (6.1 apg), steals (1.3 spg) and field goal shooting (44.6%). His scoring numbers were helped by injuries to Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva; assuming good team health, we don’t expect his scoring totals to be as high. Perhaps he can use the opportunity to work on his playmaking. With the chance to pass more, his assists should go up, but we’d like to see improvement in his turnovers per game (3.0).
Williams did a very nice job filling in for the injured TJ Ford last season, and if Ford isn’t 100%, Williams will be a very nice option once again.
The Bucks like Williams' potential but he may not be the starting point guard even if T. J. Ford isn't healthy to start the season. Williams will be in competition with Mike James.
Williams has all the ballhandling skills of a legitimate point guard, but needs a little seasoning before having a fantasy role. The point guard position is open, but the club will look first to Raul Lopez and Carlos Arroyo to fill that need.
More Fantasy News
Claimed by Nuggets again, will be waived
Waived by Philadelphia on Friday
Claimed off waivers by Philadelphia
Dealt to Denver, subsequently waived
Officially dealt to Atlanta
Williams (knee) was officially traded to the Hawks on Saturday, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.