I saved the best for last -- Deron Williams really is the best player on this Jazz team right now. It's his team, and everyone from the Jazz Brass to the most clueless fan knows that he's the face of the franchise. Most pre-season pundits have suggested that the Jazz will go only as far as Deron will take them. Duh! That's like saying the most obvious of proclamations . . . like Charles Barkley more than sufficiently nourished, or that Governor Sarah Palin is "Folksy". Right now Deron is on the shelf, but even if he misses an incomprehensible 6 weeks it's not going to hurt our team. When he comes back I fully expect him to continue his ascent up into the upper echelon of players in the league right now. He may never get the free reign to do everything that Chris Paul does -- but Chris Paul will never shoot as well, and so far, Chris Paul has a lot of catching up to do in this whole "winning" department. I don't need to say much else about our All-NBA team member and Gold medal winner, so, what three things should we look for this season from Deron Williams?
- Come back strong from his injury: Modern sports medicine is such that players now return from injuries stronger than they were before them. This is especially going to be true in the case of Deron Williams and his minor ankle sprain. Why? More than anything else, I don't think we've ever such seen a demonstratively competitive player on our roster before. Stockton wanted to win, but rarely showed it. On the other hand, Malone was always intense and wanted to win, but he worked so hard in everything was there anything left at the end of the season I wonder? AK wants to win, but only leads through his play. Boozer is very demonstrative, but what do we really know about his desires for winning? Deron Williams flat out has the will to win. Larry H. Miller said that Deron is so fixated on any slight (real or imagined) that his entire concept of winning only exists if someone else LOSES at his expense. He doesn't want to win for the sake of winning. He wants to win for the sake of beating you. Babyfaced Chris Paul may win games, but Deron Williams wants to murder people on the court. That probably explains their head to head record against each other since college . . .
- Make the All-Star Team: Brandon Roy is a great player, he managed to hit two shots in a row last night after his team was down by 20. Brandon Roy was an All-Star last season. Maybe he will be this season as well, but one thing for sure, nothing is going to keep Deron Williams off the All-Star team this season. How can you be on an All-NBA Team, represent Team USA in the Olympics -- and NOT be an All-Star? Western Conference coaches found a way to do that last season. Deron Williams' play has made them all learn their lesson.
- Lead the Jazz to the promised land: Okay, this may be a little 'homer'-rific (definition #6 on that list), but I think that our team is really good this year. We're not perfect, and there are some serious holes that need to be fixed (somehow). We also will have to play against the best teams in the NBA that are not clad in shamrocks to win the West. It looks hard, but this is the most talented team from 1 to 15 that we've ever had. Our team is lead by Deron Williams, and flanked by three other All-Stars. We should be able to sleepwalk our way to 8 playoff wins this season. (Unless we face the Lakers in the 2nd round again, grrrr)