Blowing Up: Maurice "Mo" Williams, Milwaukee Bucks Starter
Maurice Williams, PG, Milwaukee Bucks
Until the trading deadline, many fantasy owners looked on with horror as Mo Williams, a sophomore NBA player out of Alabama drafted by the Jazz in the secound round, split time with Mike James at point for the Milwaukee Bucks.
At the beginning of the season, James was having trouble staying healthy and staying on the court, which resulted in Mo Money playing slightly more minutes than, it turned out, he would when James was healthy.
In the month of November, Williams averaged 9.9 points, 7.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 turnovers, and .8 steals, while shooting .411 FG, .800 FG, and converting .1 threes per game on .4 attempts per game.
Now, I'll agree with you that those numbers are not pretty, and are--almost certainly--numbers you should not be starting.
However, I'm also obligated to tell you that his minutes during that month were, to say the least, all over the place. I'm not the first one to note that the Bucks' playing rotation, outside of huge minutes for Redd and Dez Mason, has been something of a mystery all year.
In that month of November, the Bucks played 12 games. In these 12 games, Mo Williams played over 30 minutes in exactly six of them (these were the games in which, I assume, James was injured). In these six games, he averaged 38.5 minutes and 10.67 assists per game.
Mike James moving on to greener pastures means great things for the fantasy values of both James and the one he left behind, Mo Williams.
Even when James was in town, there was no doubt that Mo was the top dog: Mo has played in 54 games this season, and he's started every single one (not bad for a second-year point guard who averaged just over 13 minutes during his first year in the league). Nevertheless, the powers that be played a deep rotation, with the talented James also on the roster: as of today, Mo is averaging 26.9 minutes per game on the year.
But take note! In the two games since James' departure, Mo has played 35 and 36 minutes, respectively, and has impressed to the tune of 16.5 points, 8.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and .5 threes per game on .600 FG and 1.000 FT.
Now, before we get too excited, those numbers represent too small a sample size to be even marginally useful. The FG is a mirage, as are the steals. This guy cannot play defense, and should be suitably atrocious in the STL and BLK columns for as long as he's playing basketball.
He also is not a very good long-range shooter, or a particularly good shooter, period. He's making 33.3% of his .8 attempts per game this year.
To top it off, Mo has an affinity for turning the ball over. His ratio (2+) isn't bad, but it isn't great, and his raw turnover numbers are definitely on the high side.
That being said, the numbers that ARE real are the FT (he doesn't enjoy missing them) and the assists.
If you missed out on Brevin Knight earlier in the year, Maurice Williams should be a good (and less injury prone) consolation prize, without the steals.
Here are the broad strokes, projection-wise: .430 FG, .850 FT, 12 PTS, 4.5 REB, 8.5 AST, 1.0 STL, .5 3PM, 3.0 TO. That might be wishful thinking, but you can hold me to it...
MO MONEY MO MONEY MO MONEY
During a time of year when waiver pickings are slim, Williams could be a gem, and there is no playing time competition in sight. James is gone. T.J. Ford, one-time Bucks point guard of the future, won't play this year, and probably won't ever play again. Reece Gaines (a rookie of out Louisville, acquired in the James trade) and Erick Strickland (8 years of NBA experience, no fireworks) are hanging around on the bench, that's where they'll stay. I don't think Gaines will ever be that good, but if he turns out to be, it won't be until next year.
My guess is that Mo Money continues to play not only 30+ minutes for the remainder of the year, but closer to 35+, which makes him a tasty assists add, indeed. Now let's see how often he can get to the line...