Point – Counterpoint: Who needs an attitude adjustment? D-Will? Or the rest of the Jazz?

October 29th, 2010 | by Brian Henderson

Sorry, fellas. My bad. (Photo: 2010 Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

D-Will needs an attitude adjustment – Brian Henderson

We get it. Deron Williams is frustrated that after two regular season games, his teammates do not yet know the offense that he’s been comfortably running for years now. As a fan interested in the team’s success, I do not want to make a mountain out of a mole hill. But Deron’s bullet pass and public berating of rookie Gordon Hayward needs to be discussed, because it was completely uncalled for and has the potential for getting out of hand quickly unless D-Will nips himself in the proverbial bud. As the leader of the team, Williams has the responsibility to instill confidence in his teammates by how he teaches them to improve their game. As most of us with professional work experience know, one of the most ineffective ways to make a point with an eye toward improving performance is to publicly undress a colleage. It’s bad form. It almost always backfires. Most importantly, though, it diminishes the willingness to follow of those being led–a crucial element for every successful leader.

I sincerely hope Deron patches things up with this kid or that tension can quickly stretch until it’s so taut that even a wayward glance can snap it. I’ve seen it happen many times before. If it really is just a process of learning the offense, if there really is no cause for alarm after two games, then D-Will better act like it. Problem is, he’s not. Williams’ response to a slow start of two games seems to be an overreaction to the situation, if that’s really all that’s going on. As the Tribune is reporting, just a day after he asserted that to be the case, this is quickly becoming a bigger deal, which makes me wonder what’s really going on.

Anyway, Deron’s leadership must start with acting like a teammate and not an enemy. How many times last night could D-Will have rocketed the ball at Al Jefferson because he didn’t pop the ball back out of the post, or make the right read on a defense? Last I checked, Williams hasn’t been performing at his level best, either. I feel bad for Hayward. He was one of the only Jazz players playing with all-out hustle last night. Nevermind that Hayward finished the give and go play by making the basket. And yet he bore the brunt of D-Will’s ire, which was severely misplaced. Kiss and make up, boys. Otherwise, the wire you’re walking will only get higher. And if we think this is ugly, wait until it really snaps. Let’s all hope D-Will takes a breather on this one, which I’m confident he will. Oh, and Gordon? Next time, make that cut.

Time to step up, Gordon (and everyone else) – Jeff Lind

Deron Williams is typically a pretty level headed guy. It’s one of his greatest strengths as a basketball player. He seems to be able to control his competitive rage and dole it out appropriately when he needs to. So last night when Williams dressed down Gordon Hayward on national TV, was I surprised? Yes. Was I angry? Nope.

I love Hayward. I’m glad he’s our guy. He’s a heady basketball player, he’s smart, and he’s talented with the ball. But I trust Deron. He’s the sole team captain for a reason. Yes, the Hayward confrontation was ugly and it seemed mean spirited, but you know what? Sometimes people need a wake up call. If Deron went after him, he did it for a good reason. To me it seemed like a message to Hayward and the rest of the team. I don’t know why he picked Gordon as the delivery method… maybe because he knew he would A) accept it, B) learn from it, and C) could take it like a man, but this was a message to the team… This was the “PULL YOURSELVES TOGETHER!” moment.

You know who thought the confrontation was a big deal? Media members on the sidelines, bloggers, and fans. You know who didn’t? Jerry Sloan, Reggie Miller, Deron Williams, and anyone that has ever played a professional sport. So, sorry Gordon. That sucks that you’re the whipping boy… but you know what? Welcome to the NBA. This isn’t kid stuff. This isn’t a job at your dad’s law firm where your “boss” pulls you aside and tells you you’re doing a bang-up job. This is professional basketball. The game is bigger, faster, and stronger than you are. Millions of dollars, jobs, and fan’s hopes are living and dying by your success. If you can’t handle a vet giving you a public shout, then get a job elsewhere. This is where the big boys come to play. People are going to get frustrated, and you’re going to get yelled at from time to time. Deal with it.

Hayward knows this. He can take it and he’s gonna be good. Deron knows it too. Let the captain lead his team.

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5 Comments

  1. Jazzhoops says:

    All valid points, but I”m with you Jeff. It wasn’t huge on D-Will chucking the ball at Hayward like he did, but this is a man’s game, and there are big stakes involved. Man up, and run the offense. This is big boy hoop.

    To Gordon’s credit, I full expect him to take the criticism and be better for it. He’s not one to sulk.

    Great job guys.

  2. OptimisticJazzFan says:

    I agree with you Jeff. It didn’t bother me one bit. If Deron needs to get on his teammates because they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, then so be it. Weren’t Jazz fans complaining that he wasn’t stepping up and being vocal and being the leader that he needed to be? Now that he is, fans are still complaining. What do they want? A leader or not? DWill showing that frustration and anger just means that he wants to win.

  3. jd says:

    Deron’s gotta lead by example. The Jazz the last couple of years have ranked near the top of the league in offense but don’t play elite level defense.

    Why? At least partly because neither Williams nor Boozer did. Williams has never even sniffed being named to an all-NBA defensive team (even the 3rd team). Other point guards routinely match him point for point (he’s been thoroughly outplayed by the opposing point guard in the first two games this year, and the Jazz won’t win much when they lose the PG matchup in a game).

    So Deron, you wanna win? DOMINATE the other team’s point guard. Lock him down. Become the best defensive PG in the NBA. And let your example bring the Jazz’s defense to championship level. That will do a lot more good than yelling at Hayward.

    Quick stats note: Check out Kobe, MJ, KG, Duncan, whoever you want – they all won championships when and only when they became 1st team All NBA defensive players. That’s price of a championship. Simple as that. NOBODY wins a championship without all-NBA defensive effort. The Jazz don’t have a single player, other than AK, who has EVER consistently played defense at a championship level. And until that changes the Jazz have no shot at a title. And trust me it won’t change so long as their “leader” DWill refused to play any defense.

  4. Jefferson says:

    If you want to make an omelet, you’ve gotta crack some eggs…Necessary casualty in Deron’s war to lead this team. You don’t see General Patton in old WWII movies coddling his soldiers and hugging them and telling them that it is all going to be okay. If Deron is the floor general, then I’m alright with him ACTING like a general from time to time. It begs the age-old question…is it better to be loved or respected? On the NBA court, my guess is that it’s better to be respected.

    Don’t know jd, but he’s right. D-Will needs to become a lock-down defender. With his game, he can and should dominate whoever lines up against him every night. That begins and ends with defense.

  5. Mb says:

    A mans game? Big boy hoop? Take it like a man? What’s next, measuring and comparing the size of our junk? The kid messed up BUT it’s his 2nd pro game of his career! Second game in one of the most complex NBA systems. I’m not saying dwill needs to hold his hand but it shows a real lack of leadership on his part. I lost a lot of respect for him! He threw a temper tantrum and took it out on the new guy like elementary school when the new kid moves in. He picked on the easiest target and did it infront of millions of people. Complete lack of leadership.

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