When I first heard the news that the Utah Jazz traded Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets, I felt this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. “Was this really happening? First they lose Jerry Sloan, now they lose their All-Star point guard?” But as some time passed, and I saw what the Jazz actually received in return for the “disruptive” point guard, I saw it as a “win” for the Jazz.
First of all, let me explain that I think that Deron Williams is still the top point guard in the league when he’s playing healthy. Sure, everything that happened with the whole Jerry Sloan saga made me like him a lot less, but looking at him objectively, I can’t deny the talent that he possesses. He knows how to run a successful team efficiently, and he is a nightmare to guard for opposing point guards. So how can I say that the Jazz got the better end of the deal?
Well, if you look at the pieces that the Jazz received in return, I see a very good point guard, and a 19 year-old forward who has not even begun to show what he is capable of. In addition, they received two first-round draft picks, which will likely be high picks (because the Nets are not good, even with Deron).
Specifically when I see a point guard like Devin Harris, a guy who usually gave Deron Williams fits, it is hard to feel like the Jazz lost that much. Although when ranking point guards Williams is much higher than Harris, watching them play against each other always seemed to show that the gap between them wasn’t that wide. There is no doubt that Williams seems to be the better passer (based on the amount of assists that he accumulates), but Devin Harris is not that much worse that there will be a noticeable drop-off. Also, when you take into account that Harris was not Avery Johnson‘s favorite player, there is a good chance that Harris was not performing up to his capabilities. The Nets have seen how good Devin Harris could be (before Avery Johnson got there), and it is still a mystery if he can reach that level of play once again. Getting away from Avery Johnson can only be a good thing for Harris in my opinion.
The next guy that the Jazz got in the deal was Derrick Favors who has loads of potential. I remember leading up to the NBA Draft this past summer, Favors was a guy that I hoped the Jazz would get. Being that he was likely to go in the top 5, I knew that the Jazz had a very slim chance of getting him. Instead, as you all know, the Jazz chose Gordon Hayward with the number 9 pick, and my dreams for Favors were over… temporarily, that is. Half a season after the draft, Derrick Favors is a member of the Utah Jazz, and they didn’t even have to give up Gordon Hayward. Favors gives the Jazz another presence in the middle, and he can definitely help them out with shot-blocking, which is something that the Jazz could use more of. Overall, Favors has a ton of upside, and he can turn out to be a real steal in this whole deal. As I mentioned earlier, Harris is a very respectable point guard. If Favors could be as good as he has been projected to be, this could be one of the best moves the Jazz have ever made. Not to mention the 2 first-round draft picks.
So yes, the Jazz did lose their franchise player, and there will be some adjustment time, but it looks like the Jazz have the potential for a very bright future. An even brighter future than they would have had if they kept things the way they were.