Deron Williams, the Internet, and Our Sports Priorities

Ezra Shaw/NBAE/Getty Images

by Patrick ‘Rey’ Reynell

Some have said that the Internet is one of the greatest contributions to society in the past century. Sometimes I worry that the Internet, for all the advantages it has given us, does more to reveal our skewed priorities rather than advance us.

Most mornings I visit a common news site. I usually visit CNN because from there I can link directly to SI.com. CNN usually has a column to the right called “NewsPulse,” which lists the five most popular stories. One would hope those top five issues would be relevant.

Not this morning. Not many mornings.

The third most popular headline today read “Jenna Jameson says she wants Tito Ortiz back.” The most popular? “Kim Kardashian: I didn’t cause plane stench.”

Wow. One story about a prescription drug-addicted porn star and another that I can only humorously assume alludes to celebrity flatulence. I didn’t click on it to find out if that was truly the case or not; regardless, something definitely stinks.

As it does with the news, the Internet also reveals our priorities when it comes to sports.

Take this link as an example. Did you notice it on ESPN.com? Did you read it and share it? Don’t worry if you didn’t since ESPN didn’t give us much of a chance. It stayed at the bottom of the headlines for only a few hours one day.

Better than its competitor over at SI.com that didn’t, in my observation, feature the story at all. One reason for it not lasting might have been because a certain Steeler stealing headlines after frolicking with underage co-eds in Georgia.

This morning I desired the score of one game: game 6 of the Utah-Denver first round series. So from CNN, I clicked over to SI.com where The featured stories included the Lakers closing out the Thunder, Tiger missing the cut, and the Mosley-Mayweather fight.

Fair enough.

The top stories over to the right included the Hawks forcing a game 7, the Mets winning their eighth straight, and the Penguins taking game 1 against the 1-seed slaying Montreal Canadiens. Then there was an article about Chris Bosh posting something irrelevant on Twitter and another story about some football player named Brett Favre.

No Jazz-Nuggets? I knew they played having watched the first quarter on ESPN2.

Next I journeyed over to ESPN.com with much the same headlines, except throw in a Tim Tebow article/video and a blurb about Avery Johnson interviewing for the New Orleans Hornets job. Yes, that’s interviewing.

So where was the Utah-Denver recap? I had to access the scoreboard at the top of each site to read the recap.

Actually, it feels like sports online media reported very little throughout that whole series with the exception of game 1 when Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points.

What’s the point? I think we’re missing what will eventually become one of the greatest players in NBA history: Deron Williams. I stress players and not just scorers.

Most were obsessed with the Lakers-Thunder series. It entailed two prolific scoring threats and a young, energetic team in Oklahoma City.

But was that series really ever in question? The Lakers, with two healthy seven-footers, dominated the paint throughout save for stopping Russell Westbrook.

Dwayne Wade and LeBron James put up some monster numbers as well in their respective series; that’s to be expected. Paul Pierce wowed us another time with his patented seventeen-footer from the elbow to win.

However, Deron Williams is on pace to not only come close or, dare I say, surpass John Stockton in playoff assists, but he’s doing it by scoring 21 points a game as well (Stockton’s playoff ppg is 13.1 having only averaged over 20 once). While closing out Denver, Williams became one of only three others since 1992 to average 25 points and 10 assists in a playoff series. And keep in mind that he’s doing this with some key injuries on the Jazz’s roster.

Yet very little is said about Deron Williams and the impact he has. It took John Stockton seven seasons to play in forty playoff games, while Williams has already reached that mark in just his fifth. Stockton’s playoff assist average is just over 10 a game, while Williams creeps ever closer with each series at 9.7.

Have we become more about the stories than the performances? Are we just a sports fraternity obsessed with scoring and the tastiest and sometimes salacious headlines?

I for one surely hope not for the sake of players like Deron Williams. Obviously, his extraordinary play will never be overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Nonetheless, I think accrediting great performances should not require a point total or appealing storyline.

If the Internet represents our subconscious desires, then where do we as sports fans place the value of great players now-a-days? Worse yet, where do the desires of the ones who report it to us lie?

Use the Internet for what you wish: entertainment, education, your own existential plights. In regards to sports, be careful not to judge or rank based on headlines and popularity because you might be missing out on a Carl Nicks storyline or Deron Williams performance.

For some reason, I don’t think neither is too concerned with what we or the webmasters think anyway.

19 Responses to "Deron Williams, the Internet, and Our Sports Priorities"

  1. Wally   May 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Great points, Rey. Deron Williams will be GREAT if he isn’t already. What an all-around talent as you pointed out. His sidekick, Carlos Boozer, is a pretty good player in his own right! What’d he have last night … 23 pts and 20 boards?? Now if those two can keep it going, the Utah-Lakers series will be VERY interesting. Boozer has to more than offset Gasol … a tough task by itself. Still, I think LA is just too deep. Lakers in 7.

  2. Rey   May 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Boozer has to realize what he has in Utah. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t griped in so long. Got to imagine those two will stick together as long as they can and try to convince management to get someone to complement Williams on the perimeter.

    I can’t say I disagree with your call on Lakers taking it. But, how noticeable is it that Kobe is REALLY slowing down. I’ve seen many of his shots blocked and as Barkley pointed out one night, he has to pump fake nearly every time he does something off the dribble. He couldn’t get to the rim against the much younger and quicker Thunder players.

  3. Casey   May 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    AMEN!

    It is frustrating how free enterprise has dictated sensationalism. Williams is not a “sexy” athlete who has Madison Ave. appeal. His team plays pick and roll basketball (that is so five years ago) and the casual fan dos not understand the intricacies of such a thing.

    Wow! Boozer 22 boards and 20 points. Dang, that Dookie can play. 🙂

  4. BS   May 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    We learned a valuable lesson: No “injury-riddled team” can be counted out in the playoffs if they still have their best two guys. By the way, I’m about to have a Shawn Michaels/Marty Janetty moment with Chris Paul … so hold on tight … but I can’t fight it anymore. Deron Williams is officially the best point guard alive. For the old “Independence Day” scenario in which aliens land on earth and challenge us to a game of basketball for the future of the universe, if we could pick only five guys, Williams, LeBron, Wade, Howard and Melo would have to be the five.

    (Well, unless you’re a Lakers fan. Then you’d pick LeBron, Bynum, Gasol, Kobe and Jordan Farmar.)

  5. Rey   May 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    No doubt, BS. And that further proves Wally’s point.

    I kind of feel bad crowning Deron Williams since Chris Paul went from an ideal pick-and-roll guy in Chandler to Emeka Okafor who is an ideal . . . college center. But still – Williams can score and dish, and does it pretty consistently and rarely sacrifices one for the other. I can’t wait to see what he does to Farmar, Fish, and whoever else the Lake Show throw at him.

    As far as my intergalactic all-star team starting five: Williams, LeBron, Wade, Boozer, Howard. You even said that you have to keep Williams and Boozer together anyway.

  6. cna training   May 1, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  7. Casey   May 2, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Howard?

  8. Rey   May 2, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Well…as much as I dislike his whole persona, I do believe in the mantra that defense wins championships. I imagine alien lifeform can fill it up.

  9. Casey   May 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    hahaha

  10. Wally   May 2, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Why are the Lakers and Jazz playing today instead of Spurs vs Suns, both of whom wrapped up their series a day earlier and are “more rested”??? Makes no sense … unless you’re gonna tell me that somehow the NBA and ABC/ESPN make more money somehow by having the Lakers play on Sunday night vs Monday night.

  11. Casey   May 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    It makes no sense to me, but that is exactly what they contend. Networks dictate the schedule.

  12. Rey   May 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I have no idea either, I know the NBA’s main objective is to make sure every single playoff game is televised.

  13. Rey   May 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Williams just gave Kobe a dose of his own medicine by drawing the foul. He’s shot more FTs than anyone this postseason. Another feather in his cap for his abilities and game IQ.

  14. Rey   May 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Utah looks clueless defensively after the first half of play in game 1 v. the Lakers. They’re double teaming but making it obvious, allowing the Lakers to draw and find the open man. A lot of baskets coming from easy penetration to basket. Matthews kid looks like the only one who wants to get up and defend somebody.

  15. Casey   May 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Gasol is making it look easy. Did you hear that Kobe?

  16. Casey   May 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Someone please cue the Rocky theme.

  17. Casey   May 2, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    When did Phil start teaching matador defense? Way to clear the way Kobe. Great take by Milsap.

  18. Casey   May 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Artest open by design from the three point arc.

  19. Rey   May 2, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Utah switched its double teaming from the first half. They started to double from the posts instead of leaving a perimeter pass or high post pass open. It worked, which is why I’m wondering they started to double team with Artest’s man. Lakers got a lot of breaks in the end, but that makes them champions. Finding a way to win. Thought the Jazz had an offensive flow going and figured them out defensively.

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