Fall from Grace: The Sad Ending of Deron!
Once upon a time,
Deron Williams was one of or the top NBA point guard in the NBA. We had numerous arguments and comparisons going back and forth between Williams and Chris Paul.
What has happened to Deron Williams? Did injuries derailed his once promising career?. Did his attitude or the desire to be recognized as one of the top players in the league damage his reputation?
Imagine this, Deron Williams is the same age as Lebron James and has been a non factor in this playoffs for the Cavs. A team that desperately needs some help from the bench. I guess there is no rest for Irving this postseason. Deron seems cooked!
The NBA today is a point guard heavy league that consists of roughly 73 point guards. Of those 73, 25 players managed to score more than 10 points per game and only 24 manage to hand out more than 5.0 assists per game, 14 managed to shoot better than 45 FG% and and 25 point guards manage to shoot better that 35 FG% from 3-point land. Deron Williams rank 23rd, 19th, 38th, and 21st.
This season Deron Williams earned an estimated 15 million dollars* during the season from the nets, mavericks and cavs. This make him the 12th highest paid point guard in the league. The last time Deron Williams closely resemble a top point guard was in his third season with the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. This was the 2012–2013 season, only four year ago, and yet it seems like this happen 10–15 years ago.
This is a table that compares several point guards for a 7 year period starting from the 2006–2007 season through the 2012–2013 season. This is a simple traditionalist analysis, not getting into advanced stats. I’m all infor advance stats but these stats are for the usual fan not the advanced metrics fan. Clearly Chris Paul has a major advantage in every advanced metrics as confirmed by having the 5th highest PER of all time . But for intended purposes play with me. For this exercise we defined as an elite point guard as a player who averages at least 15.0 poinst per game and 7.0 assists per game. Player A has started less games tha Player B but averages more points and assists by a slim margin. Player B has played 27 more games but averages -0.08 less points per game and -0.48 assists per game. Based on this alone you could argue that Player B strenght is durability and that the prospect of playing more games lowers his numbers just slightly. Truly remarkable. Guess who is Player A, take a guess who is Player B.
Player A is Chris Paul, and Player B is Deron Williams during the same time frame. During this time period only 3 point guards surpassed the 15 points and 7 assists per game barrier. Player C is Steve Nash (yes this included his two seasons with the Lakers). Incredible to think that Nash began his rise to elite at 30 years old. The other players did not meet the criteria. Only 4 point guards manage to average more than 8 assists per game. An each year Chris Paul, Deron Williams finished inside the top 5 in assist per game with Paul winning 2 assist titles but Williams finishing with better assist totals in 3 of the 7 years.
For measure, think of Lebron James. Lebron, a small forward during this same time frame average a cool 28.0 PPG and 7.1 assists per game. This is superstar level. Not even a point guard did this during this same time frame. But Chris Paul and Deron Williams generated as close as many points Lebron James generated taking into consideration points generated through asists either by a 2 or 3 point shot. Lebron generated 44.33 points while Chris Paul generated 42.92 points on offense and Deron Williams generated 41.154 points on offense. For all true certain things in life, Lebron is a freak that cannot be compared to any true position in this generation.
Some of the perceived notion that Deron Williams was better was because of his relative postseason success with the Utah Jazz. In just his second year he took the team to the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, a Spurs team that swept a Lebron James led Cleveland team in the finals. They even manage to win one game against the Spurs. Deron averaged 25.8 points per game and 7.8 assists per game againsts San Antonio (with 3 in their prime hall of famers) with no real superstar in the team at the tender age of 22. Also he went to the Western Conference semifinals 3 times. Two times against a Kobe led Lakers team with Pau Gasol that won 2 championships. Man the west was stacked. Chris Paul just manage to win only one playoffs series while with the Hornets. Sometimes postseason success dictates the nature of the rankings.
In reality what may have done in Williams as a superstar was was attitude with a combination of injuries. In the 2008 season with Utah he began experiencing ankles injuries that has plagued the vast majority of his career. In the 2010 season he played through ankle sprain and sore wrist injuries. The wrist injury debilitated his ability to shoot efficiently. Some news venues reported that Williams frequently clashed with Jerry Sloan during and after games which was attributed to Sloan hard nosed style. After Sloan force resignation, Williams follow suit an was traded to the Nets. My guess is he wanted out because of some people being Sloan loyalists. Deron wanted to be the man. During the time with the nets he suffered through multiple ankle issues, wrist injuries including bone spurs in the right wrist and a debilitating patellar tendonitis injury. You could read all about it here.
He resigned in 2012 with the Nets for a reported 98.7 million dollars for 5 years. He always wanted to be the man and wanted to be recognized as the top point guard in the league. After injuries had taken a toll on the Nets franchise they cut him loose, basically paying him to stay away. The Nets are still paying 5.47 million per season trough 2020.
The he signed with Dallas for a 1 year with a player option. For a while it looked like Williams was about 70% his former self and Carlisle had done his vodoo magic ( example are Monta Ellis, O.J. Mayo and Harrison Barnes). He decline his team option, sign for 10 million with Dallas but his play rapidly deteriorated, and the Mavs waived him with the uprising play of Yogi Ferrell. Then Cleveland came Knocking on Williams door.
Cleveland was desperate. After Mo Williams elected to had a surgery and had an eventual fallout with James and Delladedova signed a 38 million contract to become the Bucks point guard, the Cavs had no realible point guard backup. They were using unproven rookie Kay Felder and journeyman Jordan McRae. Kyrie Irving played 35.8 minutes in the regular season. Cleveland consider signing Mario Chalmers, Jarret Jack or Kirk Hinrich and also possibly trading for T.J. McConell or Rajon Rondo. Then Dallas waived Deron. Williams was at the top of Cavaleirs Christmas list. I myself, actually though this was a good signing. My thought process was that for 15–20 minutes of the bench Williams could be an offensive spark plug for a team that desperately neede production from the bench. Also thought this could actually revitalize his free agency stock. But then calamity striked twice in the Finals!
In this playoffs Deron Williams has played rougly 14.8 minutes. He has scored 4.6 ppg with 44 percent shooting which is not that bad considering he is playing sparse minutes. But in the NBA Finals his playing has deteriorated to extreme levels. He has 0 points in 40 plus minutes. Ladies and gentlemans , that’s not a typo. ZEROOO, Zippo, Nada. And it’s not for the lack of trying, he has shot 0 for 11 in. In game 1 and 2 he played 19 minutes of full garbagery, with a box plus/minus of -8 in each game .
How can you be equally bad two times around with a not so deep golden state warriors bench that fails to score when Curry or Durant are benched? How can you fail to score when you were not so long ago one of the top 2 point guards in the league?
Deron Williams seems cooked, done, slow and he is right aroung the age of Lebron James. He looks like he is 50 years old.Oh, how low the mighty have fallen. Deron Williams has suffered numerous injuries but other point guards such as Paul and Westbrook had too, but they still play like when they were younger, this is not a real excuse.
Deron Williams you will not be forgotten even when you were almost a surefire hall of famer but the days of being even a decent backup in this league are probably over. Is possible someone offers him a bigger contract but for what? A mediocre or cellar bound team? If he wants to win a ring, chase a ring, he has to improve his defense and recreate himself as a spot up shooter in a good contender. Sad day for everyone! Not even consider a Point God.