Tuesday, February 16, 2010

D-Will and his best friend Lance Armstrong

Illinois' own Deron Williams is bigger than he has ever been. I'm not talking about size-wise, because that was his chubby freshman year.

Deron is on the national stage like never before, due to his first time selection as an NBA All-Star as well as appearing in a new Nike commercial alongside other megastars like Maria Sharapova, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Lance Armstrong.

In his 5th year in the league and at only 25 years of age, D-Will has already become the greatest former Illini basketball player ever - I'm not counting players that played when they didn't allow more than one black player per team. Sorry Red Kerr, but that wasn't actually basketball.

His appearance in the All-Star game marked the first for an Illini since Donald "Don" Ohl in 1967. I know that people must have a lot of great memories of Steady Don Ohl, but that is a massive draught. According to my cell phone that is 43 years of not having a former Illini as one of the elite players in the league. Hopefully as Illinois advances as a program, players like Deron will be more common and less of an anomaly.

For now he stands as a landmark player for the U of I and one of the top point guards in the NBA. Currently, he is arguably the 2nd best point in the NBA behind Chris Paul. D-Will is averaging 9.8 dimes, good for 3rd in the league, and 18.6 points per game.
He is averaging the same amount of points as Steve Nash and 2 fewer assists, and when you factor in Nash's abysmal defense and inflated numbers due to Pheonix's run and gun style, Deron has passed him by as an elite PG.

The only other arguement over Deron is Denver's Chauncey Billups. Deron and Billups have pretty similar numbers, as well as team records, except that Chauncey averages 6.2 dimes compared to Deron's 9.8. Billups is a great player, and Denver could upset the Lakers in the playoffs, but Deron does much more for the Jazz and is a true facilitator and creator.
Plus he looks better in a sweater.

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