Early on, Carles says that "It's hard to remember who Deron Williams actually is—he has basically been M.I.A. for two seasons due to injury and/or strategic tanking...Can you really be a 'franchise guy' if you go M.I.A. for two seasons of your prime?" Wait. It’s hard to remember who Deron Williams is? He’s the guy who, aside from his rookie year, has been ranked in the top five in assists every season he’s been in the NBA. He's not Cal Ripken when it comes to playing every game, but he's not Greg Oden either: He missed 28 of his teams' 148 games the past two years. Sure, this past season he averaged the fewest assists since his rookie year (8.7 per game) but did you see who was playing alongside him? Williams needed to put that dishing mentality to the side and become more of a scorer, which explains his second-highest average since joining the league at 21 points per game.
Are those type of numbers the work of a “franchise player”? Probably not. But why don’t we take a look at the supposed “superstar” for the cross-town Knicks. When Carmelo Anthony was traded to New York, he was given that often used title and what has he done lately? Two first-round bounces is hardly the work of a superstar. But in the 2008-09 season, Anthony led the Nuggets to the Conference Finals before losing to the Lakers, 4 games to 2. However, in 2008, Deron led the Jazz to the Conference Finals before losing their series to the Lake Show 4-2, as well.
There are many anointed superstars in the league, but "true value" to a team should be held to a higher regard. When the Knicks played without Melo, they were still pretty good. One reason for that was the rise of Jeremy Lin, or more importantly, an effective point guard. In order to succeed, you need a solid guy that can manage to score when need be while also passing the ball to the open player in the most opportune situation. That describes Deron Williams to a T.
Carles goes on to claim that Joe Johnson was only as good as Steve Nash made him while the two played on the Suns. In other words, Johnson needs a premium point guard to thrive. Now who just signed a premium point guard to a five-year extension? Chris Broussard's sources know.
Finally, Carles criticizes Joe Johnson for "reuniting with a world-class point guard when he wanted to do it himself all along." For our explanation, we'll take a quote from three-time MVP and member of the 2012 world champion Miami Heat, LeBron James, who, when asked why he signed with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on Oprah's Next Chapter said "you can't do it alone." For JJ to reach that next level, he needs help. Deron may be the missing piece. Much of next season's success lies on Williams' shoulders. If those aren't the expectations of a superstar, we don't know what are.