Is Deron Williams the same Deron Williams as we saw in Utah?
Yes and no.
He sounds like the same prickly Williams who was only occasionally pleasant when he played for the Jazz. Asked by Newsday if Brooklyn fans will see the old Deron Williams, he said, “I don’t know what that is anymore. I don’t know what you mean by that, being Deron Williams.”
He then went on to explain why his numbers aren’t the same as when he played for Jerry Sloan: different teammates, different system. He makes a fair point.
At the same time, I think the 28-year-old Williams has seen his best days. There will still be brilliant games, but the injuries never seem to go away. He is currently struggling with ankle problems. In past years he has dealt with elbow, wrist, knee and shoulder injuries. They mount up. His most constant injury with the Jazz was always the wrist, and it showed up again once he moved to New Jersey/Brooklyn. But this year he didn’t make the All-Star team. USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo recently said Williams was slightly overweight for the Olympics.
Williams is a strong, physical player. That isn’t likely to change. Because of that, neither is the injury situation. He’s just prone to getting hurt. My guess is that he will finish his career having been a very good point guard. But will he be considered an all-time great?
If so, I’ll borrow a line from Williams: I don’t know what that is anymore.