Williams value could depend on frontcourt

Deron Williams has improved his PPG and APG in each of his four seasons with the Jazz.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Deron Williams, point guard for the Utah Jazz, could see some big changes come to his Jazz team in 2009 and the contract decisions by frontcourt mates Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur could determine just how good Williams will be next season.

Williams, who entered the league in 2005, has improved his points-per-game and assists-per-game in each of his four seasons with the Jazz. He's progressed to the point where he is now a fantasy star (2008 ADP of 13), averaging 19.4 ppg, 10.7 apg and 2.9 rpg.

But the upcoming year could put both his team and his fantasy value in a state of flux because two of the favorite targets for his passes, Boozer and Okur, could leave the city this offseason. Both players can opt out of their current contracts and become free agents.

According to a New York Post report, Boozer has already indicated that he will go the free agent route and possibly end up in either Miami, New Jersey or Detroit.

The loss of Boozer could severely damage the Jazz inside game and allow the opponent's power forward to help out on Williams when he drives to the hoop. This would obviously hurt Williams' point production and his shooting percentage.

The Jazz do have a replacement for Boozer already on their roster - Paul Millsap. He played very well while Boozer was out with an injury, proving the team could probably survive his departure

But the loss of Okur, would be an even bigger blow to both the Jazz and Williams' offensive production. It's the threat of Okur hitting the open three pointer which keeps the other team's center out of the lane allowing Williams to reach the basket with little opposition.

Okur averaged 17.0 ppg last season which included 90 three-point shots which he hit at an amazing 44.6 percentage rate. It's Okur which makes the Jazz offense so hard to defend. Fortunately, it appears that he wants to stay in Utah and work out a new deal with the Jazz.

"I am ready to make some sacrifices to stay here...I believe my managers and I have let our feelings be known to the Jazz management," said Okur on his website.

That's great news for Jazz fans and Williams' fantasy value.

Selected 2008 Utah Jazz Statistics

PlayerPPGRPGAPGSPGBPGFG%3PT%FT%
Deron Williams19.42.910.71.10.347.131.084.9
Mehmet Okur17.07.71.70.80.748.544.681.7
Carlos Boozer16.210.42.11.10.249.000.069.8
Ronnie Brewer13.73.72.21.70.450.825.970.2
Paul Milsap13.58.61.81.01.053.400.069.9
Andrei Kirilenko11.64.82.61.21.144.927.478.5


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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