Deron Williams had his coming out party in the 2005 NCAA Tournament when he lead the Illinois Fighting Illini to the NCAA Championship Game. After the game, Williams went on to be drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz, and he looked NBA ready from his first game in the league.
He was an absolute stud in Utah he averaged over nine assists a game in five out of six years in Utah, while averaging at least 16 points in those five seasons. On top of his personal success, Williams lead the Jazz to the playoffs in four-consecutive years (2007-2010). Williams was great for Utah, but in 2011, he decided that Utah was no longer great for him. The 2010-11 season for the Jazz saw them lose not only their best player, but their all-time great coach Jerry Sloan as well. It was commonly believed that Sloan left because of Williams.
The Jazz chose the then-New Jersey Nets and now Brooklyn Nets to trade Deron Williams to. The deal sent PG Devin Harris, rookie PF Derrick Favors and two first-round draft picks to the Jazz for Williams. The Nets got a superstar point guard at the time of the trade, and in return, the Jazz received hope for the future.
The Jazz since the trade have been abysmal. They spent one of the Nets’ draft picks on the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, Enes Kanter. The center from Turkey who was sidelined for a year at Kentucky was clearly a draft pick for the future. Kanter is raw and came into the league with very little playing experience. Kanter is just 21 years old now and he is averaging 12 points and six rebounds this season.
Harris is no longer with the team, but Favors looks to be coming into his own. He is averaging 14 points per game to go along with nine rebounds this season. Favors is still only 22, has a ton of potential, and him and Kanter together could provide a quality frontcourt for decades to come. The Jazz will continue to struggle this season, but with the additions of Trey Burke, and the improving play of Gordon Hayward, the future is bright in Utah.
As for the Nets, Williams has had trouble staying healthy and on the court for Brooklyn. Even when he has been healthy enough to play, the team has not yet won a playoff series, and they got off to a horrible start this season before getting hot of late.
Still, the Nets are in a much better place right now as a team than the Jazz. However, their future is filled with subscriptions to AARP and collecting Social Security money. What I am trying to say is that the Nets are an old team built to win right now, and only right now.
As for the winner in this trade, I have to go with the Jazz. They were able to use the players and picks from the Nets to help secure a bright future for the team. The Nets gave up a lot for Deron Williams and they have not received a large return on their investment yet. The Jazz may be good for years to come because of this blockbuster trade.