Last summer, it seemed inevitable that Mo Williams would join the Dallas Mavericks. There were multiple rumors linking the two parties, especially after Vince Carter left for the Memphis Grizzlies. They had at least one face-to-face meeting. And with Williams making his home in Dallas during the offseason, it looked like a perfect match. Instead, Williams ended up joining the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In Minnesota, Williams spent his time as the backup point guard behind Ricky Rubio. Even when Rubio went down with an injury early in the season that sidelined him until February, Williams was not the preferred starter. That role was given to rookie and dunk contest champion, Zach LaVine. What would be the point in starting a veteran guard on a team full of young talent that wasn't expected to win anyway?
With that in mind, the Wolves traded Williams to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets were desperate for a point guard after Kemba Walker had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Williams filled in wonderfully in Charlotte with Walker recovering. He averaged 19.8 points in his first 14 games with the Hornets, all starts, and shot 42.7 percent. From behind the arc he connected on 34.7 percent of his shots. Beyond his shooting, Williams was able to find his open teammates as he averaged 7.6 assists.
Once Walker returned, Williams was moved to a bench role. In about eight fewer minutes per game, Williams saw his numbers decrease (though, that's to be expected with a decreased role). His scoring dropped to 14.5 inefficient points on 34.4 percent shooting. Nonetheless, Williams proved that he still has the potential to score in droves, at age 32, when his number is called.
Fit with the Mavericks
If Monta Ellis walks away looking for a bigger payday, Mo Williams could be the perfect fit with the Mavs. Williams can play both guard positions but his primary spot is point guard. He played point in 100 percent of his appearances in Minnesota and 64 percent of the time in Charlotte. As of right now, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton are the only two guards on the Mavericks' roster. While both are capable, it would seem that neither will be Dallas' starting point guard next season.
Harris has thrived in a bench role for the Mavericks. It may also be the only role that he can fill at this point in his career. In recent years, Harris has dealt with nagging foot and toe injuries that have required surgery and kept him out of games at times. As for Felton, he never really cracked Rick Carlisle's rotation until he was almost literally the last guard left standing. He played well when his number was called, but to think that he will jump from the end of the bench into a starter's role is a stretch.
Williams is more than suitable in the starting role. His playmaking and ability to stretch the offense would be valuable in the Mavs' flow offense. He's also a player that doesn't need the ball his hand to create scoring opportunities. Half of the jump shots he made last season were assisted. Williams' career 37.9 percent 3-point shooting percentage will make defenders think twice about leaving him open to bring help elsewhere on the floor.
Further, the addition of Williams presents a bargain for Dallas. He earned $3.75 million last season with the mid-level exception. While he may be seeking more, it wouldn't be surprising if his salary remained similar in the coming season. This would free up money for the Mavericks to chase various free agent targets, perhaps even a quality shooting guard with size (K.J. McDaniels anyone?) to pair with Chandler Parsons along the perimeter.
Dallas made its interest in Williams well known last summer. He fits a need a need of the Mavs, especially if Ellis leaves. Perhaps the two will rekindle their mutual interest this summer with Williams inevitably accepting the Mavericks' rose. At the very least, it would make for good television.