The Blazers have some decisions to make as they clean house in the offseason; one of which will be whether or not to keep backup shooting guard, Elliot Williams. Williams missed all of the 2012-2013 season after tearing his left Achilles tendon during a summer workout. He is approaching 100% health but will be an unrestricted free agent in short order. So do the Blazers attempt to re-sign their 2010 first round pick?
Honestly, I would love to have him back, but it’s not that simple. Out of 230 contests of eligibility as a Trail Blazer, Williams has competed in just 24 due to multiple knee surgeries, a dislocated shoulder, and an Achilles tear. Sure he’s healthy now, but how long can we expect that to last? His track record doesn’t exactly sparkle.
And yet, I remember watching him work in limited action last year and thinking, “Wow, this kid can play.” There was one game in particular against San Antonio in which Williams got some garbage time minutes and put the Spurs to shame. He even earned the honor of fielding the post game interview and tried to repress a grin while, then Blazer, Gerald Wallace razzed him during the questions.
Williams has (or had) the sort of athleticism that has potential to change a game’s momentum, and the Blazers absolutely need inexpensive depth. Problem being, Portland now possesses a rising Will Barton with a clean bill of health. Suddenly Williams becomes the 3rd option at shooting guard. So is it worth it to keep him around?
The Blazers organization and Elliot Williams have a mutual interest, but at this point Portland should be striving to stretch their budget as smartly as possible. The injury hampered Williams will certainly be a buy low option, but it is difficult to estimate his value because he has not had a significant period of good health. His current contract is worth $1.4 million.
- He is still very young. At 23, he has plenty of time to develop and a high ceiling.
- He was rather athletic. If he still is after tearing his Achilles, he’ll be a valuable asset.
- He knows the team. There is no learning curve for a player that already knows the system.
- He is cheap. We could retain him without sacrificing too much wiggle room for other free agents.
- He is a substantial injury risk. It’s difficult to trust the health of a player who’s played 10% of their games in 3 years.
- Will Barton has jumped ahead of him in priority. He would fill a tertiary role at best.
- Portland may need the cap space to pursue other free agents.