A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Deron Williams

Deron Williams and the Indiana Pacers: A match made in heaven that is unlikely to happen due to silly reasons

with 7 comments

Deron Williams NBA Draft 2005

Deron Williams NBA Draft 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since Dwight Howard picked up his player option with the Orlando Magic, Deron Williams has been the big free agent prize of this summer. He’s an elite talent with size and explosiveness, elite playmaking and feel for the game and an outside shot – easily a top 5 player at the PG position. Deron has had a turbulent handful of seasons since a fed up Utah Jazz sent him to the NBA’s version of Siberia in the New Jersey Nets, then on the verge of a team-up with Dwight Howard, a W.T.F. move from his Dwightness by picking up next season’s player option left Deron without the assurance he’ll have Howard if he resigns with the Nets this year. Furthermore the “other option”, the Dallas Mavericks, certainly don’t look like a plum deal. Dirk Nowitzki may be a 2nd star, but he just finished his 14th season which is as far as the primes of even the most longevity friendly stars go and both he and the Mavericks certainly didn’t look like themselves this year. The Mavericks also have next to no long term, young talent to surround Deron Williams with. The Mavericks are not a great long term situation for Deron. Their appeal likes with Marc Cuban’s strength as an owner/GM – But is that enough?

The truth is there’s a perfect situation for Deron Williams out there – and they have the capspace enough to sign him this summer. It’s the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are in the 2nd round after a 50 W+ equivalent season and have a loaded group of talented forwards in Danny Granger, Paul George, David West, Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert. The biggest thing holding them back is the lack of a finger to pull the trigger on that gun – the backcourt creating talent to make it all come together. If they made a stat comparing PG production to replacement level, they might as well call it “Wins over Darren Collision” – Oh and Collision is their starting point. The Pacers have the frontcourt offense and defensive talent that a star guard would likely make them contenders. Who could be a better fit than Deron Williams? The Pacers would be the perfect supporting cast for him. Granger gives him a secondary perimeter scorer, George hits open 3s and defends at an elite rate, he can play the pick and pop/roll game with David West, and Hibbert anchors the defense and scores in the post. It’s a team with both the talent level and fit to contend for an NBA title year in and year out. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

May 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Stephen A. Smith somehow does not know what a scab is

leave a comment »

Wow. Y’know, it’s fashionable to talk about how so-called experts are actually idiots, but I tend to have a great deal of respect for most of them. Basketball journalists, while they tend to have problems really understand math, they make up for that with a lot of first hand experience and access.

Stephen A. Smith just revealed himself to be shockingly ignorant. In a column talking about Deron Williams signing with a foreign team, he says this:

Exactly. A union — any union — is supposed to personify that (unity). They’re supposed to exude togetherness as opposed to coming across as a filthy-rich scab looking to do nothing else aside from bloating his bank account.

For anyone who doesn’t know, a scab is someone who crosses picket lines to accept an offer from the management the union protests against. A union’s strength is based on preventing management from successfully running their company, so if management can get people to help them run the company during the work stoppage this is very damaging to the union.

Deron Williams is doing nothing like this. He’s going to go play for a competitor to the NBA. This technically weakens the NBA, and the money Williams earns certainly isn’t going to make him any more likely to cave to NBA demands.

For Smith to get confused on something so basic about labor-management dynamics boggles the mind. Smith has always been a bombastic commentator whose success has been more about style than substance, but this is something I would expect a decent high school student to know. For an ESPN multi-media star to have this confusion is incredibly embarassing.

Written by Matt Johnson

July 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Deron Williams flattens the world

with 5 comments

Deron Williams has announced that he’s signed a deal to play for the Turkish club Besiktas should the lockout continue what would have been the NBA season…and I love it.

Now, I don’t know if it’s the best move for Deron personally. He’s up for his new, huge NBA contract in a year, so what if he gets injured?

I also don’t know if it’s best for American basketball fans. Right now, if you want to be considered the best n in the world, you simply have to play in the NBA where us Americans get prime viewing access. Should there be a diaspora of talent overseas, maybe I get to see less of the best players in the world, and maybe when I do see them, it’s against weaker talent than now.

Still I get a real kick out of the move. In a world where “the world is flat” has come to mean a euphemism for regular people losing jobs, Williams has turned that on its head.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

July 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Fixing the Knicks and the 2012 myth

with 3 comments

Image via GearLive

A month after the Carmelo Anthony trade,  the Knicks are crumbling and have lost 8 of their last 10 – with 6 to under .500 teams (2 to Indiana, 2 to Milwaukee, 1 to Detroit, 1 to Charlotte). With the success of the post Carmelo Nuggets, the vultures are swirling and declaring the Knicks trade a failure. Advanced staticians are picking Anthony’s game apart.

What’s going wrong? Ball movement on the offensive end. D’Antoni teams rely on spacing and finding the open man and Carmelo’s ball reliant, isolation game is an awful fit for this. Billups and Amare have yet to find their efficiency legs in the new get it to the stars offense. The Knicks also have among the worst offensive depth I’ve ever seen. In their last loss to Charlotte they started Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas beside Melo, Amare and Billups and their bench was Anthony Carter, Roger Mason, Jared Jeffries, Shelden Williams, Landry Fields and Bill Walker. That’s not going to cut it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jazz Improvisation and the Association in Chaos

with 8 comments

Image by StuSeeger via Flickr

10 thoughts after a whirlwind of a trade deadline:

1. I really wish I had more to say on the Deron Williams trade. I had a whole slew of points immediately on the tips of my fingers when Carmelo Anthony was traded barely more than a day before, and I consider Williams the superior players. Ideally I’d have more to say about it – heck, ideally *everyone* would have more to say about, but they may be suffering from a bit of the same thing I am. It’s just clear that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of the decision making in Salt Lake City. I’m generally one not to bothered by the prospect of venturing forth with theories in the wake of incomplete knowledge because complete knowledge is never assured, but here there’s just too much uncertainty.

2. That said, odds still seem pretty dang good that the Jazz don’t trade Williams unless they think he’s not going to be happy there in the long term. So yes, anyone not willing to include this happening amongst the trend of stars leaving well run small market teams, is being unreasonably cautious.

3. Good trade for the Jazz? They lost Deron Freaking Williams, and traded him for players you certainly can’t expect to be his equal. The most you can say is that given the macro trends of stars in the NBA right now, it’s hasty to call Jazz management incompetent for what when down.

Read the rest of this entry »

The NBA Trade Value Power Rankings – February 2011

with one comment

A couple months ago, I wrote this column hypothesizing in short that NBA teams could best have their positions in the league going forward evaluated by total trade value. Trade value encompasses all types of players and assets, just as an entrepreneur’s net worth encompasses alternate types of companies. Because types of assets are tradeable or one another if equally valued, it is the value that matters. The teams with the most net value will always be in the strongest position, as if they have the most money in their bank.

Now is a good time to rank the 30 teams in the league. For one, I plan to update the list once every 6 months – one mid-season in February and one mid-offseason in July after the draft is ideal. The former is after players have made their changes to the list, the latter after GMs have.

Secondly, the trade deadline is this week. Trade value is on the mind.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Sloan and His Point Guards

with 2 comments

Jerry and Phil

Image by kris247 via Flickr

The news of Jerry Sloan resigning mid-season, essentially immediately after a game, is something so surprising I can’t even think of the last time something in sports surprised me more. Almost a quarter century of tenure and a relationship with ownership perceived to be the most stable in the league – gone over night. And of course, as an analyst, I feel mostly just excitement about seeing something new.

Of course part of that is because of how I view Sloan. I respect the hell out of the man’s ability to consistently achieve success, but the man is also clearly stubborn as hell. John Amaechi said Sloan was “a cruel man” and made clear he thought the man was a homophobe – and it just rings too true for me to dismiss as being entirely without merit. When someone like that quits all of a sudden, he’s doing it because he’s tired of compromise, not because he’s a victim of some great unjustice.

Although with that said, remember that the Jazz drafted Deron over Chris Paul, when pretty much everyone considered Paul the clearly superior prospect, and that undoubtedly had everything to do with Sloan believing in Deron. Rough to put yourself on the line for someone, and then for that person to drive you out.

Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

February 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm

2011 NBA POY Watch 1/31

with 7 comments

My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Derrick Rose (1)

The Bulls keep winning and now have home court advantage over all but 2 teams in the league, and both of those teams are ensemble teams with no real viable MVP candidate. Rose is on everyone’s mind now. I’ll try to expand on this in an article soon, for now, here’s Henry Abbott ranting against people like me who have Rose at #1.

2. Dirk Nowitzki (3)

Dirk’s back. Still not at full strength, but enough for the Mavs to stop their slide. Showing what we’d expect to happen if Dirk was going to climb back to the front of the race.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

January 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm

2011 NBA POY Watch 1/24

with 4 comments

My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Derrick Rose (1)

Another week, continued success for the Bulls. With incredible defensive dominance and offensive reliance on Rose, could we be seeing another Iverson-style MVP? This is shaping up to be an MVP race where people meditate and change opinions based on exactly what they decide their philosophy of MVP determination is.

2. Dwight Howard (4)

As others slide, the solid Howard steps up. Still, this Magic team has had a pretty major drop off from last year, hard to imagine Howard will earn his first MVP this year unless his team really catches fire.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

January 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

2011 NBA POY Watch 1/17

with 2 comments

My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Derrick Rose (2)

I wasn’t really comfortable with Rose as high as #2, so I’m definitely not comfortable with him at #1.  He remains though the clear star of a very successful teams that has seem major injuries.  Rose takes over games like an MVP, and I know mediocre efficiency in and of itself is not necessarily as damning as we tend to think, but still, I don’t expect Rose will be able to hold on to this spot without proving (even) more than he already has.

2. Deron Williams (4)

40 games in, and the Jazz sans Carlos Boozer and with a disappointing Al Jefferson are on pace for their best record in over a decade.  A shout out to Paul Millsap, but this has everything to do with Deron being able to take on more than he’d ever been asked to do before.  Significantly more for example, than John Stockton was ever asked to do.  He’s right there with Rose.

Read the rest of this entry »