Deron Williams might ask himself: What would John Stockton do?

Clinton JamesContributor IOctober 23, 2008

Lucky for us, he won't.

It's no secret that Stockton was one of the most durable players to ever hit the hardwood. He played nearly twenty years, all for the Utah Jazz, and was seen on the floor every single game in 17 of those magnificent years. But you can't compare Deron Williams to him. He doesn't have a Hall of Fame lock to share with, yet. Number eight is great in his own right.

It's also no secret that the Jazz lead ball handler, the heart of the team is out for two to four weeks with a severe ankle sprain suffered in a recent preseason game in Chicago, when he came down on top draft pick Derrick Rose's foot.

Deron Williams had x-rays, and an MRI, while Jazz fans held their collective breath. Negative, and negative.

Phew! That was a close call. Some of you were turning more colors than the leaves on the aspen trees. You can breathe now, it'll be back to business as usual soon enough.

Immediately, Deron began thinking of getting back in time for opening night, because he, like Stockton, just hate sitting on the sideline when they don't have to. Real competitors insist on being out there, no matter the consequences.

Then he came to his senses, fortunately. Utah has a pretty soft couple of weeks to start the season, so no need to take chances when it's the finish line that counts, after all. But who will deal the dimes while Deron heals?

Number 17, on his jersey, number one on the court. Ronnie Price has gained an unexpected shot to run the pick and roll show. His minutes have been limited to date, due to Deron's mastery and desire to be out there for a team leading 37-plus minutes-per-game. In less than 10-per, last season Price averaged almost an assist-and-a-half, while turning the ball over only one-half a time per game. Triple up those numbers and they still come nowhere close to D-Will's.

Who's number two? Number three on the depth chart is off-season trade acquisition Brevin Knight, a proven pick-pocket, but not exactly known for his passing skills at the point. In his 22 minutes-per-game last year he put about four-and-a-half dimes per-game.

At the Zions Bank Basketball Center, the Jazz's practice facility in Salt Lake City, Williams said yesterday of his proxy Ronnie Price, "He knows his game...he and Brevin are gonna do a good will be a good experience for them."

Good point Deron, there's an upside here. Getting Ronnie on the floor more early on, could prove invaluable as the Jazz make a run for home-court advantage for the postseason.

Assuming these two split the duties to start, say 65/35 in favor of Price, that leaves one of the leagues best passing teams in a hole still, as far as assists go.

Newsflash: No it won't.

Take a guess at who is the second best passer in Utah.

It might surprise you to learn that it's Andrei Kirilenko. He dealt four dimes a game last year and can run the offense, if need be. However, I cringe at the thought of him putting leather to wood repeatedly. His skills shine most brightly when he is running the floor and finding trailers or weak side cutters.

C.J. Miles saw some preason minutes at the point, but he looked uncomfortable there. Besides, he was named yesterday as the starting small forward, in the interim of Matt Harpring's recovery at least.

Carlos Boozer is underrated as a big who can pass, as well, at almost three assists a game. He busted out with more than five, more than once, last season. They may even surpass yester-year's 7-2 start to the season, when in four of those games AK47 matched or beat D-Will's assists.

The Jazz are just fine, fans.