10 former Portland Trail Blazers that might surprise you

Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Mo Williams, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

No. 5: Mo Williams (2013-14)

Statistics: 9.1 points, 4.3 assists and 0.7 steals per game on 41.7 percent shooting

During his 13-year playing career, Mo Williams played for nearly one-fourth of the teams in the NBA. In his heyday, you likely remember him as the player the Cavaliers organization believed could be the “Robin” to LeBron James’ “Batman” for those late-2000s Cleveland Cavaliers powerhouses. All told, he almost was.

By 2009, he was solid enough to make the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, and even earn the nickname “The Hitman” (does anyone remember this?), but not quite solid enough to star or co-star on an NBA Finals club. And by 2012-13, teams had given up trying.

After three fruitless years without LeBron, Mo Williams signed on with the Blazers to play understudy for up-and-coming star guard Damian Lillard. The role worked beautifully. Not only did Williams play in more games (74) than any prior season since his All-Star season in 2008-09, but he was also the sixth man on a 54-win Portland Trail Blazers team that made the Western Conference Semifinals.

Williams’ percentages weren’t impressive, but he had a penchant for the big play. Just like his brief Portland tenure, many fans have forgotten his stone cold 3-point bucket that ensured the Trail  Blazers could get to overtime and take a 3-1 lead on the Rockets. As Roger Gregory of Oregon Live brought that summer, the Portland Trail Blazers were 25-7 when Williams scored in double-figures, a testament to just how urgent bench scoring was for that Blazers team at the time.

Similar to Shaquille O’Neal’s situation in Orlando, fans voted that Williams shouldn’t be brought back. In his exit interview, Williams said that contract length was one of the things he wanted. In the end, the Trail Blazers chose veteran Steve Blake over him. Nonetheless, it proved to be a 74-game run with much to appreciate.