Thursday, October 10th, 2013 at 3:00 pm  |  53 responses

Top 50: Deron Williams, no. 16

The Nets will go as far as their star PG carries them in ’13-14.

by Jake Appleman

I was rummaging through old yearbooks after moving out of an apartment that felt like little more than a metaphorical battle rap—no really, a few miles from the Knicks’ practice facility, the address is actually a metaphorical battle rap—when I found a few signatures from my childhood and then my high school years.

I was stunned by the bile I was keeping inside as a kid, energy that I channeled into sports and being competitive in the classroom, except at the end of the year when I would rate my classmates like a price guide, and then also the bile that came back. The answer was equilibrium, as much as it stung, the idea of one being drunk on writing.

One of the things that makes a yearbook interesting is how students, at times, play follow the leader—like a comment that creates a new perception about the person whose yearbook it is (inside of their own head). It’s elementary school Psychology 101, searing life commentary before the twists and turns of the internet. As a kid, I fired dodgeballs and ran with footballs. As an adolescent, I was likened to a duck.

Since I spent most of last year around Deron Williams and friends (see how DWill suddenly looks like the leader?), I decided to try and bridge those gaps. Williams is a Steelers fan, so I combined STEEL-CURTAIN-ESQUE signatures with deeply imagined (but hopefully balanced, resonant and thoughtful) messages from his hybrid homies in the L.

Regarding the fonts: regular is The Truth according to this post in time; bold is bold, somewhat in the past perhaps; and italics both futuristic and somewhere in between.


Socrates’ philosophies and hypotheses can’t define how we were once roomies in Greece CJ Watson

You might not have been Top 50 for much of last season, but you were Top 3-5 post-All-Star, so SLAM will probably rank you somewhere between 16-22 in their annual Top 50. Just letting you know. — Keith Ramon Bogans

I lived in Greece, too. Ghost wrote a column. For SLAM. Hope you’re well. The unexamined defense is not worth improving. — J-Chill

You might as well call me Oprah’s book club. Best of luck this year. — Mr. Jerry Stackhouse



I suppose I have to learn how to translate Kevin Garnett? — Mason Plumlee

I love reunions. Us, man. Us. — AK

Hey boss—I figured Plumlee would be bringing you your plums or apples or oranges or grapefruits or whatever this year—you still want me to get you the Daily News? Or you wanna switch it up? Times, Post, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record, AP printouts, or even the Brooklyn Eagle—lemme know. I mean, if MarShon helped out for parts of two seasons. — Tyshawn

Man, DWill, I been thinkin’: Since we family men and stuff like that, we family men. Kids the most important. Know what I’m sayin’? — Reg


‘…lyrically, I’d probably be…C…P….3…’ I mean, maybe. It’s not ‘a…V…C…3.’ So I’m actually still not sure. — S “Dot” Sez

You’re not from Chicago, but you can still make ‘illa wafers as long as you’re not rockin’ loafers. — Shaun Livingston

PG—thanks for continuing to having my back. #breakfastclub? — Dray

You know, since I watch lots of NBA TV, I can tell you that I definitely see the Rick Barry in you. Should be interesting now that I have a new coach who’s used to doing more with less. Have a summer. — MarShon


Remember: If you ever need help on defense, or with a joking matter, I’ll be there to make sure you’re defending my sense of humor. — Coach Lawrence

Since we’ve been teammates in places like Venezuela and Utah and New Jersey and Brooklyn, I’ll just free associate: Me…ow!…meow…meow-mix…deliveries…UPS…a new Bowflex machine…working out…personal training…working out more…necessary rest…hydration…the number 43…my elbow jumper…macaroni elbows…getting traded to Boston…living in Boston…oh. — Hump

From the passing to the present, how you move the ball, in many ways, defines what we do here. If it’s successful, it’s your playlist. But the stature of that success lies somewhere between Manute and Muggsy. — Coach Kidd

I look forward to working with you. — Alan Anderson

I’ve been here since 1995. I’m just saying. — Assistant General Manager Bobby Marks

You and I can do better next season, right? — Mirza Music

Running and cunning. — Marko Jaric (My contribution to this Nets season. See how I imitated Clyde Frazier?)




Now that you’ve had it your way, are you ready for phase 2? — General Manager Billy King

I still don’t know where in America you can jack someone’s shorts up. — Phase 2

What about…a remote-controlled slinky…that has a twin (also a remote-controlled slinky)…sponsored by Vonage…and it climbs UP stairs…and does the Charleston…and talks like Count Chocula…and performs at halftime when we play opponents with shared ABA history… I’m just spit-balling here.Brett Yormark


The ’13-14 Brooklyn Nets: From Soft Serve to Self Serve in One Linear Mess Hall.Come on everybody, let’s do the conga’. (Mr. Cory Booker, IS THAT SLOGAN OK WITH YOU?) — Marty Markowitz

“5…4…3… — Paul


2…1…” — Joe

I want to be bad boy. — Toko

Always make Crew mistakes. — KB8

For the record, the author interviewed me when he was 17—for The Record. Predictably, the work was amateur in quality. — Jet

So…you gonna read it? — Brook

Ain’t that fly? — TWIN SWANS

Where should Deron Williams rank in the SLAM Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2013
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Monta Ellis Mavs SG 5
49 Luol Deng Bulls SF 10
48 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 14
47 Greg Monroe Pistons PF 12
46 Kawhi Leonard Spurs SF 9
45 Mike Conley Grizzlies PG 13
44 Al Jefferson Bobcats C 9
43 David Lee Warriors PF 11
42 Jrue Holiday Pelicans PG 12
41 Anthony Davis Pelicans PF 10
40 Joe Johnson Nets SG 4
39 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 9
38 Kevin Garnett Nets PF 8
37 Rudy Gay Raptors SF 8
36 Paul Pierce Nets SF 7
35 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 11
34 Pau Gasol Lakers PF 7
33 Al Horford Hawks C 8
32 Andre Iguodala Warriors SF 6
31 Brook Lopez Nets C 7
30 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 6
29 DeMarcus Cousins Kings C 6
28 Damian Lillard Blazers PG 10
27 Josh Smith Hawks SF 5
26 Joakim Noah Bulls C 5
25 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 4
24 John Wall Wizards PG 9
23 Chris Bosh Heat C 3
22 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 5
21 Dirk Nowitzki Mavs PF 4
20 LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 3
19 Rajon Rondo Celtics PG 8
18 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 2
17 Blake Griffin Clippers PF 2
16 Deron Williams Nets PG 7

Rankings are based on expected contribution in ’13-14—to players’ team, the League and the game.

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  • shockexchange

    CP3 and DWill used to be 1A and 1B in the “best PG” debate. In the Shock Exchange’s opinion, DWill has the potential to make the biggest move up the rankings next year. The Nets have assembled talent to make them a Top 5 team in the L. If (i) DWill can return to the form he showed in Utah, (ii) the Nets do damage in the playoffs and (iii) DWill slaps CP3 upside the head during head-to-head matchups, he will be in the Top 10 next year.

  • 3Chainz

    There it is…. all 5 Nets… smh!

  • spit hot fiyah

    i see what u guys are trying to do with some of these write ups. it’s good writing. it’s just not what most of us on here are looking for (i say that based on a lot of the comments i read, i’m not trying to speak for anyone else).

    a lot of the readers feel like some of the rankings are off, some way off. all we want to see is some justification for why a player is ranked at a certain spot. we understand that’s it’s a projection and a lot of speculation. but it would be nice if not only less than a handful of writers would actually try to rationalize the rankings we have had so far.

  • shockexchange

    Actually, the Shock Exchange thinks the write-ups are a nice change of pace. It’s pretty obvious why some guys are ranked where they are. For the most controversial rankings – Tim Duncan for instance – the SLAM editors can come in and give a more definitive rationale behind the ranking.

  • LakeShow

    D-Will is going to remind people this season.

  • Junior Taylor

    I’m looking forward to see the kind of impact JKidd has on DWill’s game. If it is anything similar to the impact MJackson had on Curry, the Nets just might find themselves in the ECF with a great chance of beating MIA.

  • Omar

    I’m glad people have stopped comparing him to CP3. That was silly.

  • Sérgio

    How come that was silly? D-Will in UTAH was head-to-head with CP3 in the race for best PG.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Jake is still The Man!! I miss those classic AppleSon collaborations.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I was wrong about him last season, other than that last month when he was a mammoth. So I’ll reserve my opinion for later.

  • pposse

    that he’s garbage? no reminder necessary.

  • LakeShow


  • pposse

    barring any serious injury if the nets led be d will can’t get a third seed or better and get to the ECF it will be another disapointing season

  • Max

    Please stop the comments about hunting dogs and what not..

  • shockexchange

    Interpretation: “Let’s stop judging guys on whether or not they produce and limit it to how good they look in uniform.”

  • shockexchange

    Fair point. To whom much is given, much is expected. In the Shock Exchange’s opinion, reaching the ECF isn’t as difficult as it seems.

    (i) The previous 800 pound gorilla – Celtics – have been dismantled.
    (ii) The current defending champs – Heat – are not very deep and heavily dependent upon 3 players. If any of the Big 3 gets hurt, the Eastern Conference is wide open.
    (iii) Of the other contenders – Pacers, Bulls, Knicks – the Nets have equal or more talent than each of them.

  • Max


  • shockexchange

    Spoken like a true “show dog.” *Welp*

  • hubertdavisfor3

    Even though he had a bad end to last season, it’s a slap in the face to see chandler not make the top 50. He still made all defensive 1st team last season and averaged a double double. His impact defensively is so versatile in his ability to stay in front of quicker players as well as be as vocal as anyone in the league. His underrated impact on offense is his ability to spread the floor for other shooters by being a huge threat at the rim.

    Meanwhile, SI ranked him the 27th best player in the league:


    I don’t see him slowing down next season.

  • BugEyes

    D wil and baby Dwade(felton) need to lose some lbs

  • King David

    used to think he was better than CP3 then last year happened SMH

  • Shifty

    Please tell me Paul Pierce is in this….

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    It really depends on how the regular season goes. If the nets have to play pacers or bulls then they may not get to MIA but it’s all about matchups. I think the NETS have better matchup with the Heat than the bulls.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    Name the top 5 pg in the NBA.

    Do you think Deron is better than Tony parker.

  • BCoops

    I was expecting a writeup to explain why Dwill is/will be the 16th Best player next season, and all i got was this conglomoration of tacky quotes — Me

  • Caboose

    In order:

    Rose can slide anywhere on this list depending on how well he comes back.

  • Caboose

    So the Nets entire starting 5 is in the top 50. Something tells me at least one of those rankings is gonna be wrong.

  • Max

    Real interpretation: I’m tired of the methafor.

  • pposse

    Assuming Rose is just as good if not better than how he left the game the list goes as so…Derron is not better than TP imo

    3.Westbrook (contingent upon his knee being fully healed)
    4. Paul
    5a. D Will
    5b. Curry, Irving

    - The pg spot is so deep, but imo the most vulnerable to lose position is CP3 and D Will to the guys i mentioned in the 5a,b spot. I didn’t include Rondo cause im thinkin he only comes back in February. My criteria for any player is about winning, and I value scoring over a pass first guy. Name me one ‘pass first’ pg who actually won an nba championship in the last 25 yrs whose name is not Magic Johnson? Passing is overrated in the NBA, its about buckets. “this game has been, and will always be, about buckets” – Uncle Drew.

  • deeznutz

    What’s a methafor? Is it a metaphor on meth?

  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ Anthony Dixon

    yea even though CP3 can’t win anything.

  • shockexchange

    Pick a park then.

  • Max


  • Max

    Kraanhof, you coming to Belgium so I can drop fiddy on you?

  • Dagger

    Good list, except I’d flip Parker and Westbrook.

    And of course Chalmers should be on there.

  • shockexchange

    Shock Exchange out.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Hey dude, for fantasy… would you rather keep Paul Pierce of Joe Johnson? I’m gonna try to trade one of them for Drummond.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    That’s tough man, if I had to, probably Pierce.

  • Kadavour

    he was hurt. are forgetting that was barely able to jump last season because of foot problems? as he started to recover he started to ball.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you mean after he had those ankle treatments?
    they aren’t permanent. i don’t know which Deron we will get this year.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Kyrie will be in that top 5 discussion by the end of the year

  • Caboose

    Probably. If the Cavs can put up SOME W’s this year, then he’s easily in that top 5 discussion.

  • Caboose

    Did you just quote a marketing character? That’s like me using something freaking Ronald McDonald said to justify my point.

    And it was Bill Russell who said that! Not Uncle Drew. So you’re wrong on 2 levels.

  • pposse

    lol i see you caught the tail end of my post. Shout out to Bill Russell for telling it like it is.

    In all seriousness the NBA values scoring guards/ pg’s any day over pass first pg’s (coincidentally i do too). Look at any draft class and you will see this is true.

  • danpowers

    nice similarity for deron and cp3 this season: this year will more or less define their legacy. both are running out of excuses if they and their teams fail to deliver big this season. the rank is ok tho. he could be higher, but last season implied that he somehow has to prove it first.

  • danpowers

    co-sign. but just check all those mid-ranks in the slam top 50. this year can already be concluded as a big fail.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    name any team in the nba who has one a championship without a hall of famer who played 4 or 5. I mean almost all championship teams are built a strong pass-1st guard with dominant post. If you are saying that what team won where the best player was a pass-1st pg or are you saying what team has won a title because most teams have always had passing guards who set up the offense minus the Heat. Parker is a scoring guard and spurs won couple titles. I am confused at what you are trying to get at?

  • pposse

    what I am getting at is this site, and many people who frequent post on this site place way too much emphasis on pg play..specifically ‘pass first’ ‘pure pg’ play. Case in point, 17th ranking yet 7th ranked pg on Slam.

    The Pistions didn’t have a hall of famer on their team and they beat the Lakers. Chauncey was a score first type of player. and now he is a hofer. The real point I am getting at is the fact that I don’t agree with CP3 being ranked #1 pg in the league since 08. His style of pay is not conducive to winning important games. Deeper into the playoffs I would rather have D Rose or Westbrook any day over CP3. CP holds others accountable with his passing, but the guys I mentioned hold themselves accountable by taking more of the shots. At the end of the day more likely than naught bball comes down to one guy going mano y mano against the defender to score. If they double then he passes, but bball consistently comes down to one on one play in crunch time in big games.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    I’ve been saying paul gets a pass ask @disqus_rOeXXBD2qs:disqus. I think rondo will when he comes back have a suprise jumper and be a triple double threat. His ppg are definitely gonna go up now that paul and kg aren’t there. HIs assists will stay cuz rondo gets those easy assists.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Thanks again holmes! Drummond trade prolly won’t happen but I’ll try to snag another big man. Dude you’re the best, such a sick advisor haha.

  • Derrick Slanger

    this was confusing to read, even before getting to the quotes…

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