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SLAM puts Deron Williams, Joe Johnson in NBA's top 25

Alex Trautwig

SLAM is closing in on the top players in its annual Top 50 and has two Nets at #7 and #22. Deron Williams, who ESPN ranked at #10, goes higher in the SLAM calculus, at #7, while Joe Johnson, ranked #33 by ESPN, is ranked at #22 by SLAM. No other Net is in the Top 50. ESPN had all five Nets starters in their top 100.

In both the SLAM and ESPN rankings, Williams is the top player in the Atlantic Division.

Among those behind D-Will in SLAM's rankings: Rajon Rondo at #8, Russell Westbrook at #9 and Carmelo Anthony at #10. The big difference between SLAM and ESPN: SLAM has D-Will ranked ahead of Rondo, Westbrook and Kevin Love. Among those behind Johnson this season are Derrick Rose, at #23, Josh Smith at #24 and Rudy Gay at #25.

Of Williams, SLAM writes:

He doesn’t have Derrick Rose’s explosiveness, Rajon Rondo’s fiery all-over prowess, Chris Paul’s ability to use every ounce of open space to his advantage or Russell Westbrook’s raw power. Nothing leaps out. But to a degree, he has all of those things, and he has them all at a high enough level that on any given night you might want him on your side over any of the aforementioned names. Lots of nights, actually. He has no tangible weaknesses...

And of Johnson:

Consider his confidence on the low block and his above-average defense, and it’s simple to picture Johnson seamlessly helping any team. Notice his impressive handle, his good court vision and his unselfish demeanor, and Johnson’s game becomes downright tantalizing. There was a reason the Suns and Hawks both thought Johnson could play point guard, and while that belief was mistaken, he still possesses skills most 2-guards lack.

  • SLAM ONLINE Top 50: Deron Williams, no. 7 - Adam Figman - SLAM
  • SLAM ONLINE Top 50: Joe Johnson, no. 22 - Allen Powell II - SLAM