After watching New Jersey’s Deron Williams dominate the fourth quarter and overtime of Wednesday’s Sixers/Nets game, it got me wondering about the superstar dynamic on a team.
Williams is a superstar in the NBA, and proved it on Wednesday by single-handedly taking over the game and winning it for his team. As the former Illinois star drained clutch bucket after bucket I couldn’t help but look over at the Sixers bench and wonder where the response was.
“Deron Williams, to say the least, was absolutely sensational tonight,” said Sixers coach Doug Collins. “That was the best performance we’ve seen from a guard this year. He was not going to let them lose that game, big shot after big shot.”
New Jersey's Deron Williams celebrates after hitting another big shot against Philadelphia.
And then it hit me, the Sixers don’t have a guy like that. They simply don’t have a superstar, a bona-fide scoring option every time down the court.
Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner don’t strike fear in opponents. They’re nice players and play well collectively, but they’re all second options. Elton Brand once was, but he is a veteran past his prime and on the decline now.
When crunch time rolls around, the Sixers’ threat is Lou Williams. Say that to yourself again. It doesn’t sound right because it shouldn’t. Sure he is clutch in some respect, he did drill a few three-pointers to try and put the Nets away, only to be answered by Williams time and time again.
I guess what the point of this is, is well, Deron Williams is really, really good. On top of that it begs the question, does a team need a superstar like a Deron Williams to be an elite team? Not that the Nets are elite, because they clearly are not, but look at other teams like the Clippers who have been transformed in just a superstar trade from a laughing stock to a title contender.
Look across the NBA landscape, the teams that win have that guy, you know the one who drops 30+ on any given night. Chicago has Derrick Rose, and is first in the East. Miami has, well, you know those guys and are second in the East. Out West, Oklahoma City has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Those are the types of players who take a team to the next level. The Sixers haven’t had one of those guys since Allen Iverson left the first time. And think about when they had him, a finals appearance and butts in the seats every single game. The Sixers are second to last in home attendance this season by the way.
Philadelphia needs a superstar both on and off the court. Imagine just for a second if you added a say, a Dwyane Wade to the Sixers’ current lineup? Do Jrue Holiday, Wade, Turner/Iguodala, Band and Hawes scare you now?
Sure it costs pieces to get superstars, but do you think the Clippers have buyers remorse so far with their place in front of the Lakers out West? I don’t think so. The Hornets, who gave up the superstar, are 3-15 and will probably last another year before being relocated by the league. Still think a star matters?
It sounds stupid, but in the modern NBA, you need more than just a team. You need a team that has that guy, the guy that teams look over after a game and say “He did what?”
Just like I said as I watched Deron Williams sink the Sixers on Wednesday night.