Ranking the Top 10 Point Guards in the NBA

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9. Deron Williams

Mar. 1, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) drives to the net around Dallas Mavericks point guard Darren Collison (4) during the second half at Barclays Center. Dallas won 98-90. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Deron Williams’ career has certainly taken a different shape than what most might have expected for him as recently as 2010.  In his time with the Utah Jazz, he made the playoffs every season with the exception of his rookie campaign.  His career in Salt Lake City actually peaked in 2007, when he led the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals where they fell 4-1 to the eventual champion Spurs.

That’s as far as the Jazz would ever get in the playoffs with Deron Williams as their point guard, and before long things soured with Jerry Sloan, causing the longest-tenured head coach in the NBA to resign.

Fast forward to three months ago.  Avery Johnson is fired while Williams is having one of the worst seasons of his career.  Williams is now perceived as a coach killer, and the pressure for the Nets to succeed suddenly falls squarely on his shoulders.

That perception will always cast a different light on his accomplishments, and it’s going to take sustained success with New Jersey in order to change it.  This season has been a bit of a letdown for the Nets, as they set lofty expectations for themselves with their move to Brooklyn.  Now that Johnson is gone, Williams will be the one that has to answer for the New Jersey’s shortcomings.  Right now he’s the figurehead for the salary splurge that Mikhail Prokhorov signed off on, and he’ll have to answer for the failures of the team.

It seems likely that injury is playing a role in Williams’ struggles, and considering all of the turmoil that’s occurred this season, it may be considered a success as long as they can hang on to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

In the long run, however, Williams is going to have to work hard to instill confidence in the franchise and the fan base that he’s the one who can propel the Nets into the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.  I’m betting Williams has what it takes.  A spell of rest over the summer will help, as he hasn’t really slowed down over the last two offseasons.

During the lockout in 2012 he played in Turkey, while last summer he went to the Olympics in London and trained vigorously all the way up until this season.  If he ends up chalking this season up as a loss to injury, watch for Williams to come out early next season looking to make a statement with his play.