For a while, I thought that Deron Williams was the unquestioned leader of the Utah Jazz. However, in light of recent events, I am beginning to question if that guy is in fact Carlos Boozer.
Following the trading of Ronnie Brewer, it was Deron Williams who reacted in an immature manner. He reminded me of a 4-year old kid who had just had his favorite toy taken away. He was outright annoyed that the Jazz sent away his “little brother” to Memphis, and he was clearly not in support of the move. In fact, he even went as far as saying that the Jazz got worse. If he is the true leader of that team, he cannot say things of that nature. He needs to be behind everything that the team does, and he cannot be on a different page than the rest of the organization. If he felt bad about Brewer’s departure, that is understandable. From what I had heard, all of the players were. But he needs to show that he is willing to deal with what happened, and he needs to show that he is going to move on with a positive attitude.
Then you look at someone like Carlos Boozer, a guy who was involved in trade rumors himself. Like Williams, he was not a huge fan of the Jazz giving Brewer away, and he did admit that the team was in a sad mood because of the whole situation. However, unlike Williams, Boozer showed that he was ready to make things work with the pieces they had left, and he realized that what was done was done. The way in which Boozer handled the situation was the way a true leader should. He spoke about the other players having an opportunity to step up and prove their worth, and he did not harp on the fact that Brewer was gone.
And then you have the game against the Warriors on Friday night, in which the Jazz were forced into starting 2 new starters. This game is a prime position for a leader to take control of the game and lead the team when they are short a few players.
D-Will had his routine double-digit assists, as he recorded 11 of them, but he only managed to put in 9 points on 3-13 shooting. Not exactly the performance that you are hoping for out of your leader, given the specific circumstances.
Boozer, on the other hand, took this game with his bare hands, and he owned it. Boozer finished the game with monster numbers, as he scored 30 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, as he helped keep the Jazz perfect on their current 4-game roadie. And like a true leader, Carlos Boozer was the guy that the Jazz leaned on when they had a chink in their armor. Boozer was the guy who was not afraid to deliver, and he was the one who was ready to take this team on his shoulders and lead them to victory.
Now I ask you, if you had to decide on a leader of the Utah Jazz, who would you go with? Based on these two occurrences, the answer seems quite clear to me.
- For the record, I am a huge fan of Deron Williams, but the way he handled the Brewer trade, and his less-than-spectacular performance against the Warriors, has me a little concerned. As the leader of the team, he needs to be able to handle some turbulence when it comes the team’s way. He needs to show the rest of the team that he is not going to fold under the pressure because they look up to him. Let’s just hope they are bumps in the road that he can smooth out come playoff time.