Mo Williams is the (near) Future

I was writing a comment to today's downbeat comment from Amar (below) about who would be the best PG to pair with the C4 going forward, and it ran a bit long. So, I thought this might be better suited for my first FanPost. Let me know what you guys think.

Amar's comment:

"Do we want a PG who wants to be the Next Russell Westbrook, or the Next John Stockton?

and secondly: In today’s NBA would the Next Russell Westbrook be a better player and more successful than the Next John Stockton?

and followed by: Which of those two players would be the best fit for the current players we have on our team right now?

Which is kind of why I lean toward’s Kabongo. He can take control, but would do his job and let the scorers score / let the other ball handlers create."

My thoughts:

Fact: Since John Stockton was in the finals, NBA finals contenders have had PGs that averaged 6.5+ assists while scoring less than 20ppg less than 33% of the time; for NBA champions, only two out of the last twenty-two champions had PGs which fit this rather lenient criteria for a "pass-first" PG (Boston with Rondo; Dallas with Kidd).

With the rise of OKC and Miami, it's looking like this trend will continue in the near future. Currently, Chris Paul is the only PG on any even border-line contending team that qualifies.

Opinion: This probably isn't a popular opinion around here, but Mo Williams will be the best starting PG for the Jazz for the next 4 years (lucky for us, that's probably the contract KOC'll give him anyway) and should be getting 30-36mpg at the PG spot.

1) He's Foye from behind the line. Having watched Tinsley/Watson kill our paint spacing this entire season, I'm convinced this is worth 3-5ppg alone. Sorry, Kabongo.

2) He's excellent at passing to post players who establish good positioning. Say what you want about Mo's passing skills or court vision, but when you run an offense that involves a pass into the post, Mo's passes are spot-on and crisp. Contrast that with Devin's passes, which costs us 1-2 seconds of clock each possession and forces Al to lose 1-2 steps of positioning. Since Corbin's converted to a post-centric modified flex offense feat. Al the Conqueror (soon to be Enes the Conqueror), this is the pass that our team needs the most, and Mo is as good as any PG in the league at making this pass. Mo is averaging 6.7apg at 2.5:1 Ast:TO ratio in 31mpg, in his first 24 games in this offense, so he's consciously shifting to be more of a passer. I don't think it's a strech to think that with the C4 and more time in this offense, Mo can reach 7.5apg at 3:1 Ast:TO ratio in 36mpg.

3) He's an experienced vet that will stabilize our play on the court. No one loves vets like Corbin, but assuming we fully commit to the C4 (plus 2 draft picks) this offseason, we will only have 2-3 vets left on the team. There is value to having a vet be in a ball-controlling position to stabilize the team, whether it's your PG or Al. Burks, Hayward and Enes are still all prone to making progressively worse decisions once we get on a slide (which, admittedly does not happen often when they are on the floor, but what when it does... those three do not deal with it well on the offensive end). Having a vet, even a mercurial one, control the ball on offense will reduce these panic moments and help us stabilize when the opponent goes on a run. Also, rookie PGs not drafted No.1 are almost never much good in their first few seasons. Remember the Marshall buzz? Our odds of finding one in the mid-late first round this draft are slim to none. Sorry, Kabongo.

4) He's a former all star, starting PG for Lebron in the NBA Finals , and well-respected. If we draft a young PG, we need someone to mentor them. Whatever you can say about Al, I think it's obvious that Kanter's post moves (especially the fakes) would not be nearly as advanced in his second year as they are without the Al mentorship. Deron didn't like playing behind McLeod for good reason. It's hard to respect that a PG with historically low PER (until this season, thanks Tinsley) and no history with the franchise is starting ahead of you. But, Stockton was fine playing behind longtime Jazzman and all-star Ricky Green. If we're going to keep our PG of the future benched, which we should, because rookie PGs are pretty terrible for winning games, we have to keep him benched behind someone he can respect and learn from. This is not Tinsley/Watson. This is Mo Williams.

5) He's pretty injury prone, in the right way . He misses about 20%-25% of each season, but returns for the playoffs. This is great. See what happens when Al and Millsap get injured? Mo's injuries will give our PG of the future short periods of time with low expectations to log more minutes and get experience under his belt. As long as Mo returns fully healthy for the playoffs, it's not a huge deal that he misses chunks of the season. This is a net positive, especially when we will have a PG of the future to develop. Once this new PG develops and plays well in Mo's absence for a sustained stretch of time, it will be natural for a time share to happen, and we can prepare Mo for his bench role when we become perennial contenders toward the end of Mo's contract. Also, keep in mind that Mo has never left a team on his own terms (besides when we refused to give him any comparable contract after his rookie season), and he had veto power over being traded to the Jazz and did not use it. He was also miserable emotionally when Lebron left, siding 100% with the Cavs ownership. He's a loyal guy. I think there is a great probability that when Williams is 34, and his next contract is up, that he gives us a hometown discount and settles into that bench role for the good of the team, as he has already shown willingness to do in LAC.

Conclusion: So, regardless of who we draft. Unless we can convince Chris Paul to sign with us this offseason, I think our bet both for winning in the next 4 years and developing our core players is to resign Mo Williams with a modest raise (10-12 mil avg per season; 4-5 seasons) using a chunk of our much-discussed cap space this summer.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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