It’s a tough time in Jazz-land when your Hall-of-Famer coach quits midway through the season. It does say a lot about your ball club. This post though isn’t really about him and his wonderful career, it’s about Deron Williams taking away from the Chris Paul fiasco. It’s also about the shift of power from coaches, to star players.
A lot was talked about in the off-season of unrest in New Orleans with Paul being distressed with the lack of direction. Then a couple of made up rumors by highly respected journalists turned it into Big City versus Little City. Meanwhile Deron Williams complained about his team and how they lost key role players. He wasn’t happy, but was satisfied with the moves of acquiring Raja Bell and Al Jefferson. It didn’t pay off. The Jazz’s defense slipped and the Williams/Sloan relationship slided into an inhospitable environment.
This says a lot about the nature of the NBA. “Star” players feel that they are the ones in control. When it comes time to push the big-red button, they feel like they are the one’s to do it. Gone are the days of the Coach-Player relationship (between top athletes), it is now a “What can I do for your career coach?” As opposed to the other way around.
Chris Paul and Deron Williams have a connection that will never be broken. Both will be joined at the hip when discussing the best point-guard. Now it appears that with this unrest in Utah that lackluster franchises like the Knicks (who haven’t made the playoffs in what, 10 years?) will pursue Deron instead of CP.
My personal take on it is that it sucks. I’d much rather see Deron Williams play for the team that drafted him, bring a title to a city that’s been craving one for so long. Despite my hatred for how Jazz fans view Williams’ superiority over Paul, I still feel that the same connection between the players is also felt between the fans.
We want to stick it to the bigger markets, stick it to their arrogance. Sometimes though all that is meaningless when it turns out sometimes you want to stick it to the player.
The same arrogance of those bigger cities is plaguing the better NBA players. Even mediocre ones like Gilbert Arenas are fooled into thinking they are gold. If Jerry Sloan can’t level out Deron Williams, what chance does the next guy? The underlying question for Hornets fans is, “What does this mean for us?” Chris Paul was in a similar situation of instability (no turmoil between coach and player need I remind you). There was great uncertainty. But I defy you Hornets fans to think of a time when you despised Paul for seemingly “kicking and screaming.” Because this is exactly what is happening with Williams. The balance of power has shifted. Hard, tough-nosed coaches would have a heart-attack at this. The great Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, Red Auerbach among many others would be asshamed of what the NBA has become.
There is nothing we can do about it as fans though, we re-enforce it to the players that to an extent, they are gods.