Player: PG Deron Williams
Regular Season Stats:
The season recap will involve recaps by me, Basketball John over at SLC Dunk, and the guys over at My Utah Jazz. Here is SLC Dunk’s, with a bit of a teaser, if you wish to call it that.
But Deron made a name for himself again in the playoffs. He kept the Jazz in most games and almost single-handidly brought the Jazz back in game 6 against the Lakers. I don’t think that there’s anyone else that you want taking that shot in that situation. I think more people were surprised that it didn’t go in. Boozer can lay claim as this being their team, but for me and I believe most fans, it’s Deron’s team. He’s the only one that’s shown he’s the leader and not just claimed it. As Deron goes, so goes the Jazz.
And here is My Utah Jazz’s recap. Teaser…
There was no other player I wanted taking the game tying shot in Game 6 than Deron Williams. Yeah, he missed. But he had officially solidified himself as an All-NBA player, and the future of this franchise. Every other player became expendable when it came to resigning D-Will.
My recap is below.
Go-To Moves… aka, the good(s) of the regular season.
Ankle-breaking crossover with a killer J.
He worked this to perfection during the regular season, executing it with amazing efficiency, especially with a FT-line jumper. Whenever the Jazz were struggling, you could count on one of these to get the team (and fans) going again.
Drive in & finish (with or without contact).
Another huge thing for the team… his willingness to drive in & finish (or find a finisher), even when taking a ton of hard hits. And the occasional jam made it even better.
While this was relaxed a bit with the development of a back-up mid-way through the season, it seemed obvious early on that the Jazz didn’t have a suitable back-up for Deron. As soon as he went to the bench, the team seemed to slow down & play a lot worse. As a result, Deron spent a ton of time on the court. Given that he had previously (last season?) expressed a desire to play more that he had originally, I’m pretty sure he was upbeat with this. And given his play & the results, I’m not sure you argue about the minutes he got (though maybe if he was a bit more rested during the season…).
Shut Your Eyes… aka, the bad(s) of the regular season.
The only real negative, as his turnovers/game stat is almost 1 TO/game higher than his career average. There were some games where he seemed to be giving the ball away without concern (at least if you look at the box score), but that might be a by-product of his attacking the hoop so often. Or just the fact that he handles the ball so often that turnover tend to occur. Bad bounce, swatted pass, hands of stone… they happen.
Post All-Star Break.
The All-Star snub, or the tons of minutes before, or something else… something go to him. So while his assists jumped up after the break (9.7 to 12.0), the rest of his game dropped a bit. Percentages fell, rebounds dropped, points fell… at least his turnovers decreased a bit. If this is a result of him playing too much, at least a PG developed behind him late. Maybe the team needs a more reliable 3rd-string PG though.
Playoff Calling Card… aka, what to recall about the playoffs.
No doubt about this… he was the team MVP in the playoffs. While in the regular season he was a contender for it, in the playoffs he was the runaway winner. The Jazz went as Deron went, especially with a disappearing act that could rival Houdini. As the stats show, he upped his game in the playoffs. He scored more, had almost the same number of assists, and while his shooting percentage fell a touch, his long-range shooting percentage jumped up. Kind of fitting, too, that what ended up being (unfortunately) the last shot of the season came from his hands.
In The Future… aka, what awaits this off-season.
Is there any doubt? If Deron wants to be here, he’ll be here. And everything that he’s said makes it seem like that’s what he wants. There is talk of getting him signed (max contract?) before all the Team USA things start. That would be ideal for the Jazz… get him locked up early before you go on to other things.