Deron Williams expounds on the various virtues of playing alongside LeBron James and the kind of work ethic he had, compared to Kobe.
It’s not even close now, but there was a time when Deron Williams vs Chris Paul was a real argument. CP3 still held a significant edge as the better shooter, but Deron Williams was leading teams further in the playoffs.
Williams had a great start to his career, making All-Star teams one after the other in his first 7 seasons. However, he suffered a series of injuries through his late 20s that sapped him of his once-great explosiveness.
This meant that he needed to rely on his reading of the game and become more of a complementary piece. Ultimately, Williams’ defensive decline and lack of shooting touch made him borderline unplayable at the end of his career.
However, his peak included 2 Olympics selections against very stiff competition. Williams beat out the likes of Chauncey Billups and Allen Iverson, among others, to make it to the Redeem Team in 2008.
This Redeem Team also contained first-ballot Hall of Fame talents like Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard. But above all, it had the 2 best players in the world at the time – Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
‘Except Kobe Bryant, LeBron James has the best work ethic I’ve seen’: Deron Williams
Deron Williams was on both Olympics teams with these two absolute legends of the game. He was able to see their individual approaches to basketball excellence up close and personally.
Deron believes that LeBron James is a different breed of player from anyone else he’s ever seen. This impression of his was solidified further when they played on the 2017 Cavs at the tail end of his career:
“I had played with LeBron in 2 Olympics, and so I knew him and what he brought to the table. When I talk about work ethics, besides Kobe, being around him in the Olympics, LeBron has the best work ethic. His basketball mind is unbelievable.”
“I like to think myself as a pretty smart human when it comes to the game of basketball. Seeing things and understanding things. But his mind works differently.”
“I’ve seen and heard people talk about his mind, but until you’re there working with him on game-plans, day in and day out, seeing him call out all the other team’s plays. It’s just on another level.”