So we're starting off the season recaps of the players and teams. I'll be putting mine up along with UtesFan89 and the guys at My Utah Jazz.. I'm very late in mine, but still ahead of My Utah Jazz.. Up first is Deron Williams. If anyone has any strong desire to do the write-up for any of the players, let me know and I'll get yours posted.
So we start things off with the leader of the pack. There's no doubt to the fans in Utah and to those outside the rabid fan base who the team MVP is. We had other players that had a good years and even played at a team MVP level throughout the season. But if I were to put up a poll as to who was the man during the season, I think I would get over 98% of the vote for DWill.
Regular Season & Stats
Let's take a look at the numbers for the season,
|2007 - Deron Williams||82||37.3||6.9||13.6||50.7||1.0||2.6||39.5||4.0||5.0||80.3||0.4||2.5||3.0||10.5||3.4||1.1||0.3||2.4||18.8|
As I noted on my old site , Deron Williams became just the third player ever (Magic and Kevin Johnson being the others) to score 1500 points, dish 800 assists, and shoot at least 50% from the field. Now it's kind of easy to pull stats from whatever columns you want and make up your own "He's only the x player to do such and such" claim. But when two of the biggest stats of points and assists are put together with FG%, I think that's pretty significant. And any claim that I can throw out that shows that 8>3, then it's even better. Of course Paul did have the points and the assists, but he ended up shooting 48%. And the closest Stockton ever got was in 88-89 and 90-91. But he had over 1100 assists those years, so I think we'll look past that.
I've been trying to figure out what caused Deron's huge rise in his assists in January. He started the first couple of month at about 8.8 and then, bam!, he jumps almost 3 assists a game. He went on to average 11.7 for the rest of the season. The only big changes that we're aware of are the Korver trade and the New Year's Eve party. Could all of those assists come from having a more wide-open floor? Is Korver really worth three more assists a game? I really can't find any correlation and so if you have ideas, let's hear them.
Thanks to the TrailBlazers hot December, Deron was snubbed for the All-Star game in favor of Brandon Roy. The Jazz of course had their worst month of the season in that same month. But January quickly reversed that when the Jazz went 11-2 and had a ten-game win streak that extended into February. Conversely, Portland went 8-6 and lost the division lead. And then they continued to crap the rest of the season. I guess that wasn't enough of a crapfest for the coaches to vote for Williams instead of Roy.
But it was all good for the Jazz. Deron Williams went on a All-Star snub tear in February and March when he went for nearly 20 (19.7) & 12 a night. He also got to take out some frustration on Chris Paul and the Hornets on Feb 4th for 29 & 11 to Paul's 6 & 6.
Deron finally cooled a bit in April when his shooting percentage dropped to a season-low 43%. The Jazz still went 5-2 during that month, but scored only 89 points a game, far below the season average. And while Deron still averaged over 10 dimes a game, the team assists were the lowest since the dreadful month of December. They went 5-2, but needed to go at least 6-1 to get home-court advantage. One of those losses was a heart-breaker in Dallas on a three at the buzzer. But the final loss of the season against SA might have been one of Deron's worst performances of the year when he went for just 5 & 2. Granted, he played only 18 minutes and the whole team stunk up the joint. You can't blame April for not having home-court, but getting one more win that month could have made a huge difference in the playoff picture.
Outside of maybe Millsap and Brewer, Deron was really the only one that showed up in the playoffs. He picked it up a notch going for 21 & 10. He probably would have had a higher assist total but no one else could hit a shot. If you take out Deron's stats, the rest of the Jazz shot just 43% in the playoffs. Their poor shooting is one of the reasons why they had a hard time getting past Houston in the first round. And when the couldn't pick it up in the second round, they didn't have a chance against LA.
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.
If it weren't for the rise of a certain other PG this year, perhaps more of the talk would have been on Deron Williams' great season. There's no doubt that we're seeing one of the NBA's elite players that's only getting better.
The good news is that he wants to stay in Utah. And he wants to get the extension done and out of the way before the training camp for the Olympics starts. One of the biggest questions about his contract extension is, "How many years will he sign for?" James and Wade both signed just three-year deals which gave their fans heart attacks because they took that to mean that they wanted to leave in a few years. When really, it's because the current CBA expires in a few years (after the 2010-2011 season I think) and they wanted to take advantage of any changes there.
I don't think the Jazz have to worry about signing Deron for just three additional years. We all know he can earn the most by signing with the Jazz. And a three-year deal would expire a year after the new CBA went into effect. I'm not a CBA expert, but when have the players gotten the better end of the deal in negotiations? They tried to strike, but eventually collapsed. Stern has done a great job in maximizing profits for the owners and to make sure they get what they want. So I think Deron will go for the long-term security and sign the the five-year deal.
And as I've talked about before, Miller and the Jazz desire stability above almost all else. They were able to keep Malone here for nearly two decades despite his numerous attempts to leave. So I think the brass do what it takes to keep Williams here for the rest of his career.
The Utah Jazz's season recap of Deron . Here's an excerpt,
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.
The playoffs came and Deron single handedly (due to the lack of production from his "side kick") helped the Jazz beat down Houston. Tracy McGrady tried his best to bring him down by asking how his name was pronounced (he would have known it had McGrady been asked to play for USA basketball, but he wasn't...because...he sucks), but it didn't phase our superstar. He led his team to victory and sent McBitchy packing for the second year in a row.