With TV writers on strike, maybe he is auditioning to produce lines for Letterman.

Or perhaps he simply wants his own gigs hosting "Saturday Night Live" and the ESPYs, just as the subject of his nifty one-liners did this past offseason.

Whatever the case, Jazz point guard Deron Williams could not help but joke and laugh Tuesday over the prospect of facing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in tonight's ESPN-televised affair at EnergySolutions Arena.

"I don't think he's a very good player," Williams said with the straightest of faces. "I don't understand what all the hype is, you know? What can he really do?"

After experiencing firsthand this past summer just what the 22-year-old James is capable of, Williams — a teammate of King James on USA Basketball's entry in the FIBA Tournament of the Americas Olympic qualifier at Las Vegas — can afford to kid.

But seriously, folks ...

"He just really knows how to play the game. He does. And he's younger than me," said Williams, himself just 23. "He's just got a great grasp for the game, a great feel for the game. His abilities speak for themselves.

"He's one of the highest jumpers, one of the best runners. ... He brings a lot of energy to the game, offensively and defensively."

Williams saw it all in Vegas, where James merely averaged 18.1 points and team-high 4.7 assists for a collection of stars that also featured the likes of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd.

"Me, him, JKidd and Mike Miller went over every game early to get some shooting in, and he was shooting the ball amazing," Williams said. "He wasn't missing too many shots. You can tell he spent a lot of time working on his jumpers.

"But he's not one of those ball-dominant guys," the Jazz point added. "He's going to get his points without the ball, moving without the ball, as well as he's gonna get some assists. You know, he's a great passer — and that's what makes him special."

Yet it wasn't just on the offensive end that James — the 2003 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall draft choice, three-time NBA All-Star, 2004 Olympian, 2006 All-Star Game MVP, 26.7 points-per-game career scorer, summer-stage extraordinaire — managed to dazzle Williams as a teammate.

"That's what I was most impressed with — his defense, the way he was talking to us out there," the Jazz point said. "He really was, I think, the center behind our defense, because he was talking to everybody out there and was letting everybody know when screens were coming and things like that."

It's with all that in mind that those in Utah know they will have their hands full tonight.

Already this season, mind you, Tracy McGrady has dropped 47 points on the Jazz, Al Harrington 38 and Bryant 33. Toss in The (so-called) Chosen One tonight, and the call is for all hands on deck.

"Obviously our defense is going to be set up to try to limit his touches and try to contain him to a degree, but when he has the ball everybody will know where he's at on the floor," said starting power forward Carlos Boozer, James' former teammate in Cleveland. "We need to do a good job of making him feel pressure from the initial guy defending him, and the guys around him being there for support.

"I think we've got some guys that can bother him with some length," Boozer added, "and hopefully he's working hard for every shot he takes"

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan would not say Tuesday who he plans to use first as James' primary defender.

Whether it's starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko or starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, though, it's really no one-man job.

"We'll do some things to hopefully ... not give him every basket he'd like," Sloan said.

Williams only hopes that indeed is the case, from beginning to end.

"We're definitely going to have to help whoever's on him, whether it's Ronnie (Brewer) or whether it's A.K. (Kirilenko) — similar to Kobe (Bryant), and similar to the way we should have done to T-Mac (McGrady) — and just try to limit his points" he said.

"You know," Williams added, "it's not one guy guarding these types of players. It's the whole team. It's a whole team effort. Our whole focus has to be stopping those guys and (making) somebody else hurt you."

That, then, is the point's plan: Allow others to inflict the pain, if they must. And hope you can kill the king with laughter.

"LeBron?" Williams asked. "Who's that?"


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