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Veteran leadership and toughness


I don't think it will shock anyone if I state I'm not a big Mo Williams fan. I didn't really like his game before he was a member of the Jazz this second time around, and nothing last season has changed that. This probably isn't going to be a super objective post.

I wanted to make a post about Mo during the season and how he compared to other starting pgs. For some reason I decided not to. Just know that he was easily one of the worst starting pgs in the league. I then wanted to make a post after the season ended about how the Jazz shouldn't bring him back, but I decided to hold off on that until after the draft. I'm glad I did. The world is a different place than it was a week ago. I like this new world.

Supposedly Mo was brought back to give the team toughness and be a leader. I know what toughness is. It is Earl Watson going over to get in Dirk's face to stick up for a young player. I know what being a veteran leader is, and someone who can help young players learn the game. It's Jamal Tinsley and Devin Harris taking Alec Burks aside during a dead ball to tell him what he did wrong on a certain play and make it a teaching moment. I watched those things happen. I'm not saying Mo Williams didn't do anything like that last season, but I don't remember him doing it. Again, I don't pretend to be objective so it might just be my bias clouding what he did contribute, but I failed to see where his toughness and veteran leadership made the team better. The same can't be said about Al Jefferson whose fingerprints were all over the development of Favors and Kanter, just for comparison's sake.

And then we have the bomb that Mo has said he won't come back to the Jazz unless he is the starter. It is probably being blown out of proportion, and I have no idea how reliable the source who leaked the information is. But the juxtaposition of the way Mo appears to be handling this situation and what Trey Burke said in the press conference is comical. Burke basically said he would want to start but he would come off the bench if that is what the team needed and he would work hard in every practice to earn being a starter. Oh and he said he would still be a leader even if he was coming off the bench. Did I mention how excited I am that the Jazz drafted this kid? So pumped.

So do we really need Mo back, and starting for the Utah Jazz? Let me rattle off some numbers and I will let you decide. Most of these stats come from 82games.com. Mo played 35% of the total Jazz PG minutes last year. His PER for 48 minutes of production was 14.1, that's below average. Let me put some emphasis on this. It is not just below average for starting PGs, which would be significantly higher. It is below average for an NBA player. Mo Williams isn't an average NBA player and he is demanding that he start. So there's that. But that isn't the whole story. Basketball is a two way game. On defense he gave up a 19.3 PER per 48 minutes of production, for an astounding -5.2. I know there are some inherent problems with using stats like this. That's fine. I personally like to use stats to confirm what I watch on the court. And what I saw was a PG who couldn't guard his shadow and who kind of sucked the life out of the offense.

Competition is a good thing. For two years now we have been told that we don't want our young players to be entitled to minutes and roles (not rolls, everyone deserves rolls) on the team without earning it. If Mo is brought back, it will be because he is going to be the starter (again if that source is to be trusted he said he won't be back unless he's the starter) without a competition. Supposedly that is something the Jazz as a team is against. I want to believe minutes are earned on this team. Prove it by letting Mo walk.

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

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