BOSTON He is no John Stockton.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan makes that point over and over, continuously mentioning whenever someone tries linking the two that Basketball Hall of Fame-bound Stockton played 19 NBA seasons and apparent superstar-in-the-making Deron Williams is in just his third.
But there's something beyond mere longevity separating the two, and that's this: Williams loves to shout out plays on his own accord, and Sloan readily permits it; Stockton, even late in his career, didn't do that much at all, typically preferring to look back at his coach for the call.
"He's done a good job of running plays, executing for us, getting us into stuff we need to run," Sloan said of Williams, who actually started calling more and more on his own during last season's second half.
Whereas Sloan was calling everything when backup Ronnie Price played in Wednesday's win at Milwaukee, starting point guard Williams called about 10 for every one by Sloan.
That ratio did tighten, though, when the game did the same in Wednesday's second half.
"We were struggling for a little bit out there trying to find the right set," Williams said, "so I looked to him to see what he wanted."
"In the back of his mind," All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer added, "(Sloan's) got a couple plays he thinks (are) gonna work ... Sometimes he can see something that we can't see, so we trust him."
Sloan, whose Jazz visit Boston tonight, has similar faith in Williams.
"Once in a while when I feel like there's something we need to try, need to do, we talk about it on the bench, we throw it out there for him and let him do it," he said. "But he has a great feel for what's going on, and he knows his teammates pretty well."
His thought process, Williams suggested, is quite simple.
"I can tell when we're taking too many outside shots, and we need to get it inside," he said. "If we haven't run a play in a while, I think it might work. Or you'll see a mismatch, and you want to attack some person."
Sloan said what Williams calls is "pretty close" to exactly what he would anyway.
"That's the amazing thing about it," the Jazz coach said.
"He has a feel," Sloan added, "for what we're trying to accomplish with our team ... He's gone through ups and downs with it; I've gotten in his way a few times, and, you know, he's fought out of it."
Because Williams can, Sloan doesn't mind more and more frequently getting out of the young point's way. And when he feels compelled to reclaim control, Williams understands.
"There have been games where he barely calls any plays; there have been games where he calls the whole game," Williams said. "It's just a feeling out there."
At least one teammate, though, prefers the feel when it's Williams making the call.40 comments on this story
"It's better," Boozer said. "I hate looking back at the bench, because then everybody knows our plays. They're looking at the bench; we're looking at the bench. When DWill calls it, it's better for us, because that way we don't have to look back at Coach every time."Running down the court," Boozer added, "we might miss something. Especially the way (Williams) is passing the ball. If you're looking at (Sloan), he (Williams) might hit you in the back of the head with the ball. So, for us, it's better that he's quarterbacking the team."
NO DOUBLE TROUBLE: Williams' double-double Wednesday was his 41st this season, and Boozer's was his 43rd.
Boozer ranks No. 3 on the Jazz's all-time double-doubles list with 129, five ahead of retired Mark Eaton but well behind leaders Stockton (714) and Karl Malone (799).Center Mehmet Okur is eighth with 94, followed by ninth-place Williams at 76.
POLLARD SURGERY: Boston remains without veteran big man/Utah native Scot Pollard, who underwent successful surgery Tuesday to repair a torn left-ankle tendon.