Haynes & Jaynes: Season predictions
Using a popular Hip-Hop song as inspiration, Portland Trail Blazers super reserve Mo Williams promises to continue causing havoc off the bench this year in hopes of coming away with the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award.
“Oh yeah, wining that award is a goal of mine,” Williams admitted to CSNNW.com. “I feel like if I’m the Sixth Man of the Year, this team is going to be pretty good. I’m going to be a problem. Like Drake says on his new album, ‘I’m going to be on my worst behavior.’
“That’s the mentality that I have. I’m like that every day at practice. I’m like that every day in the games. I’m just going to be a problem. I’m going to be on everybody’s scouting report because I feel like that’ll take pressure off of Dame [Lillard] and L.A. [Aldridge].”
It’s a reachable goal for Williams, 31, who is entering his 11th NBA season. In six preseason games, he has proven his value off the bench for the Trail Blazers by averaging 12.5 points and a remarkable team-high of 5.2 assists.
The chemistry he and Damian Lillard have displayed in the backcourt together in such short time has been nothing short of amazing. His ability to consistently stay in attack mode while remaining a distributor has thrown the opposition off.
Williams may not be an All-Star anymore, but he hasn’t forgot how to put the ball in the basket. And he has plans of doing that a great deal in a reserve role.
“Mo is a starting quality point guard capable of playing the one and two,” Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts told CSNNW.com. “I think it’s important for players to have goals. The fact that he has embraced coming off the bench, I think he’s going to thrive in that. There’s no doubt the game changes when he comes into the game.”
Stotts currently has a roster equipped with multiple lineups he could use and be effective. Over the last few seasons, it was a no-brainer what personnel would finish out games. It’s not that cut and dry this year.
It’s going to be extremely difficult to leave Williams on the bench with the game on the line in closing minutes. He has never shot a shot he didn’t like and he’s not intimidated by the big moment. Those are all attributes needed to be a closer.
“For me, I’ve always closed games. It’s nothing new to me,” Williams said. “Obviously it’s up to coach. But I got game-winning shots under my belt. That pressure doesn’t bother me. I can accept failure. But we got eight guys that can close games for us. When you got guys of that caliber, coach can kind of go with the flow of the game and go with guys that are going. He’s going to have a lot to work with.”
It’s going to be an interesting season. The Trail Blazers are one year removed from having arguably the worst bench in NBA history and now its bench is filled with real NBA-caliber players. Williams will be the catalyst anchoring that unit.
He fits that character. Probably because he feels like he’s been disrespected and under-appreciated throughout his NBA career. With that line of thinking comes an edge, an edge Portland will benefit from.
That’s why Williams will have Drake in heavy rotation this year. He’s going to be a problem. Now the question is what are you (opposing teams) going to do about it?
“That’s what makes me who I am,” he said. “I keep that chip on my shoulder. If I don’t get the respect, that’s fine, but at the end of the day, If I got the respect from my teammates and coaches, that’s all that matters to me. I’m going to be a problem.”