Well, I finished my video of Deron Williams highlights. Hopefully it's worth watching. It was a lot of fun to make.
I made the video because I could never find one on YouTube that I really liked. There were some "Top 10 plays" videos that were good ... but general highlights videos weren't so awesome. They all seemed to show 7-8 total plays, played over and over from different angles — as if Deron's put up that few highlights in his career. Plus they didn't seem to show all of Deron's game. Just some dunks and nice crossovers.
I wanted a video to show all of him: his passes, his jumpers, his 3's, his driving layups, his dunks, and so on. I wanted to see him in a half-court offense, in transition, on the fast break, and so on. And I wanted his personality, how much fun his teammates seem to have playing with him, how much pizazz he puts into his play, and how much fun it is to watch him play every game.
I originally planned to do highlights from his whole career. Then I started going through the highlights videos, and I decided to do just last season. I started in the playoffs and went backwards. When I was to mid-January, I decided to stop and see what I had. I pulled out all the best highlights, cut them to 5-7 second segments, and strung them together. It was 11 minutes long. So much for the ridiculous implication that he only has 7 or 8 great plays worth putting on a video. Anyway, at that point I just stopped and edited the video. So these clips are only from January to April, 2010.
Random thoughts I had while making the video
- For a few years I've been arguing with a few guys about whether Deron or Stockton is better. I always said the same thing: as things stand now, Stockton is the better point guard but Deron has the potential to eventually pass him up. The reason is because of all the little things Stockton did. Here's an example: Watch clips of him on fast breaks. When good defenders are outnumbered they try to position themselves in a way to guard everyone for as long as possible. But there is always a point at which the defender has to commit to going after one guy or another. Stockton would do this little lunge with his shoulders just before he passed, drawing the defenders to him like a vortex sucking up cows. They'd inevitably get drawn to Stockton too soon, which opened things up for the other Jazzman (often Malone) for a completely uncontested dunk (even though there had been 2 guys in the paint just a split second earlier). Deron's finally doing this sort of thing. He's not as good at it as Stockton, and I don't think it's as instinctive for him as it was for Stockton, but he's doing it. Great example starts at 2:58. There are 3 Blazers protecting the paint, they all get suckered into collapsing on Deron, who does the little shuffle pass to AK for an uncontested dunk. Think about that. An uncontested dunk with 3 defenders in the paint, and the Jazz outnumbered on the transition sequence.
- My favorite clip is the no look pass at 3:09. There are two things that make the awesomeness go up exponentially: 1) watch Ronnie Brewer. He was totally hoodwinked by Deron's move (he even puts his hands together to catch the ball, even though the pass went to Boozer — and after Boozer scores, all Ronnie can do is giggle at Deron's razzle-dazzle), and 2) After the pass, Deron deliberately smashes into Humphries and pushes him out of bounds like a fullback smashing a linebacker into the sidelines. That's how Boozer got an uncontested layup.
- The Jazz owned Portland last year. I promise, the Jazz smashed the Blazers worse than you remember — even if you think you remember how badly we killed them.
- Millsap is great at the pick and roll. I don't think we'll see many P&R's involving Al, because the Jazz don't run it all that much and Millsap is just so good at it.
- Deron to AK for the dunk is the king of transition sequences. I'm not talking about fast breaks (everyone seems to participate equally there), but transition: when the defenders are there (but not set) and the majority of the Jazzmen are not yet starting the offense: AK just has this knack for sliding into a defensive hole and Deron has the knack for finding him.
- The Jazz were fast paced and exciting to watch. Once they get the ball they're out running, and Deron, CJ, AK, Paul, and Ronnie Price seem to be able to outrun pretty much anyone. It was especially noticeable on the road. They played fast. They stayed in control (they didn't transform into the Warriors), but they'd score 120 and win by 15 on the road. I wonder if being able to play at such a fast pace on the road, while staying in control, was a big part of why they were so much more successful away from ESA last year than years prior.
- We will miss Wesley. I love Raja. I actually think his strengths (vocal leadership, nastiness, hard-nosed play) are more desperately needed by the Jazz than what Wesley brought. But man. I'm not kidding when I say Wesley Matthews was invovled in every single loose-ball play. He would either initiate it, come out of nowhere and beat everyone else to the ball (even though they were 20 feet closer), or he would be the first once racing down the court, ready for the pass. And the stats back me up: 1.5 steals per game after the Ronnie B. trade. Highest rate on the Jazz.
- Millsap has this crazy knack for getting wide open under the basket. I know — everyone's going to say it's because of Boozer. It's not. Look at 4:10. Yep, that's the Nuggets double-teaming Fesenko, who's moseying about and not even remotely prepared to start the offense, leaving Millsap open under the basket with nobody within 15 feet of him. This happened over and over again, no matter who else is playing on the front line. So either Millsap is super-sneaky on the weak side or he's like Ann from Arrested Development. Who?
- Everyone (even we fans) forget how good the Jazz were from January on. All we remember is the Lakers series, feeling like another good-but-not-great team and season. Well, that feeling is wrong. They were great. They were better than any Jazz team since '98. They were scoring 130 and winning by 20 on the road. Yeah, their weaknesses made them impotent against the Lakers, but that doesn't change that the team was phenomenal after the first 2 months. And considering the catalysts will all be back (with a major upgrade in Al as the starting center), well things look very, very, very good for this next year. Regardless of what the talking heads say right now. All we have to do is pray for good health.