HoopsHype.com Interviews

Deron Williams: "The championship runs through San Antonio"
by Joseph Woelfel / March 13, 2008

Deron Williams - Icon Sports Media You have been on a tear since being left off the All-Star team. Are you playing with a chip on your shoulder?

Deron Williams: I’m just trying to win, trying to get my team to the playoffs. The West right now is tough and I will try to elevate my game for us to make the playoffs. That’s what I am trying to do.

You've already come a long ways as an NBA player, but did you ever feel resentful only playing 28 minutes a game and coming off the bench as a rookie. Or was it a learning experience?

DW: It was a little bit of both. I wish I was playing more, but a lot of rookies don’t even get 28 minutes. So I am grateful for the chance to play out there and learn.

What is the toughest matchup the Jazz could face in the playoffs?

DW: I say San Antonio right now. They won three championships in the last five years. They have a great team and a great coach. The championship runs through them.

The Lakers traded for Pau Gasol and Phoenix acquired Shaq. The Jazz got Kyle Korver. Did the Jazz make the right decision by virtually standing pat?

DW: I think so. We were playing the best basketball at the time and we are playing our best basketball now since we got him. He was a great addition that we needed. We have plenty of scorers. We just needed a little punch off the bench.

Last year, your teammate Carlos Boozer said, “When you have your vacation plans already, that's not a championship vision." Does this team now have a championship vision?

DW: I think so. I hope so. We have to wait and see. We got a long way to go before we can talk about that. We have to try and make the playoffs first. Like I said, the West is so deep right now and so close. You can’t afford any slip-ups right now. It could cost you a season.

Did it upset you at all that the Jazz did not re-sign long-time teammate Dee Brown?

DW: A little bit. I definitely would’ve loved to see Dee back. He’s my friend, teammate. It’s a business and you can’t really get hung up on that. You see players come and go all the time in this league.

Do you ever stay in contact with the guys from Illinois?

DW: I talk to a lot of those guys. I talk to James Augustine still and I talk to Luther Head a lot. You know, they are some of my closest friends. Some of my best times were in college.

Who would you say are the MVP candidates this year and are you in that group?

DW: No. It is between Kobe and LeBron.

You were the star of Bailey’s Moving and Storage commercial. What’s next?

DW: Nothing right now. We’ll see what happens. My acting career just got off the ground.

Is it hard to be a marketable playing in Utah?

DW: A little bit. It’s definitely different from being in New York or LA, but there are opportunities there.

Will you ever have your own shoe?

DW: Only time will tell. As of right now, probably not, but we will see how it goes.

Do you see yourself staying in Utah long-term?

DW: Yeah.

Do you expect to get the max when you sign your next contract?

DW: I don’t know. I have to worry about that in the summer.

Better combination: Malone/Stockton or Boozer/Williams?

DW: Stockton and Malone right now.

Do you ever feel the pressure of being the next great Utah point guard?

DW: No.

Has Stockton given you some good advice?

DW: No.

In college, you said that you wore #5 because Jason Kidd was your favorite player. What was it like playing with him this summer? Is he still your favorite player?

DW: Yeah, he is still my favorite player. It was fun getting a chance to learn from one of the best point guards that has ever played the game. It was great to get the chance to see them live, in action, day in and day out. It was just raw sitting back and watching him.

It has been written that in high school you would shoot around until the gym closed. Are you still a gym rat or has your training become more focused?

DW: I play too many minutes to do that now. Rest is the key in this business. In the offseason, I’m definitely in the gym a lot. That is when you work on your game the most.

Was the Illinois-Arizona NCAA tournament game the most exciting game you’ve played in?

DW: That was fun. I played in a lot of fun games, but that was pretty crazy for us to come back with that amount of time. I am sure pretty much everyone that was watching the game thought it was over when we were down 15 points with three minutes left. But we believed, and we kept fighting and were able to come back. So it was definitely probably the best game I have ever been a part of.

What was the toughest defeat: North Carolina in the 2005 NCAA Championship or the Spurs in the 2007 Western Conference Championship?

DW: It has to be the Spurs. College is great, but the NBA is the biggest level. We were only four games away from the NBA Finals.

Joseph Woelfel is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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