Despite the Knicks claiming his rights initially, and rumors about a Memphis reunion, anybody who has followed Jason William's career over the last few years knew he would sign with the Magic eventually. In typical Otis fashion, Otis Smith stayed quiet while the rumors flew and closed the deal that both sides wanted. And now, with Jason Williams coming home to Florida, some eager bloggers in the blogosphere (what a word, by the way) are claiming a PG controversy on the horizon. Wow.
So Jason Williams has a ring, which is great. He has crazy ball skills, which ignite the fan base and can spark a team. And he's not afraid to pull up on the fast break 3, slash to the hole, or have the ball in his hands in big time situations. His skill set is comparable to Rafer Alston, maybe even better in his prime, and couple that with Jameer Nelson's reckless, injury prone style of play and J-Wil's ability to play starter's minutes, and it could be trouble, right? Plus, Jameer is much worse looking over his shoulder at a capable backup than with the pressure off with a guaranteed #2 like Anthony Johnson. So if J-Wil shines and Jameer struggles, what then?
The Magic want a championship now, that's why they broke the bank trading for Carter, matching Gortat and taking on Bass and Barnes all while being in the luxury tax already. One year, maybe two year window from ownership for Otis to bring home a ring at any cost...the exact length of Vince Carter's contract (Hedo wasn't resigned because of years, not dollars, but that's another story). And if he's similar to Rafer in play, and Rafer took the Magic to the Finals only to cede way to Jameer and then lose the series, then a controversy makes sense...doesn't it?
Not even a little bit. It makes about as much sense as Hedo being the most important player in the Magic lineup. Oh wait, people really said that. People who heard an announcer say it first and jumped on the bandwagon. So Hedo handled the ball from the 3 spot and was 6-10 with ball skills and hit game winners. He was great at times. But his bad passes, forced shots and turnovers earlier in games usually balanced out the heroics or put the Magic in that position. He was a good player for the Magic, not irreplaceable and not the most important player. He wouldn't have been able to pick and roll and run point from the perimeter if Dwight didn't attract so much attention in the lane by himself, allowing the Magic to play four on the perimeter.
So what does that have to do with Jason Williams and a potential PG controversy? Simple...people try to make a story out of anything just to garner attention. It happens in sports, news, politics, entertainment, PR, business, interoffice relationships...people throw out enough lines until one catches and ride it as far as they can.
Here's the truth. Jason Williams was an extremely talented electric playmaker who used to hit teammates in the face with passes as a Gator (which was awesome to watch, by the way). He was a fearless shooter, a starter his whole career, and won a ring with Miami as the starting point guard.
And then he retired. And it wasn't because he didn't want to play for the Clippers, as was reported at the time. We forget sometimes that athletes have personal lives, often complicated ones, and J-Wil was about to have a baby, was having problems at home, and his family was on the verge of falling apart. And he decided to focus on that, to be responsible, and make sure the family stayed together, before he could focus on basketball.
Of course, not everyone will buy that. And whenever you have a player spend time away from the game and want to come back, you have to question his heart, his rust, his skills and his mentality. So J-Wil knows he has something to prove. Plus, he no longer is in the position or the mindset to demand a starting role. He's playing in Florida, close to his family and his home, for a contender. Believe me, he's happy with whatever role he has. For now, for this year, at the very least. He took time off because he realized there is more to life than basketball. A man who makes that choice is a man who will play for the team, not himself.
Jason Williams does have a skill set similar to Rafer Alston's. He also comes with a much different mentality and much lower price tag. He is the perfect fit for the Magic. A #3 PG who can leapfrog to #1 in case of injury and play starter's minutes, who can spark a team, who provides veteran leadership to a young core, and who has won it all. Make no mistake, Anthony Johnson is the PERFECT backup PG. Steady, calm, controlled, reliable, consistent, great for 10-12 minutes a game to settle a young team. But he is no starter. For the Magic to find a #3 who can and has played #1 yet is willing to accept his role at a minimum contract and low risk, well, it's a perfect fit. And no surprise. Because it was an Otis Smith move.