Deron Williams has been a beneficiary and victim of the hype bubble over the course of his NBA career. There were times in his early years when, due to favorable numbers in head-to-head matchups, smart fans (even smart Hornets fans) said they'd take him over Chris Paul. There have been times in the past 18 months or so in which smart fans (even smart Nets fans) wonder if he's even a legit NBA All-Star.
He was never better than CP3, and he's absolutely a legit NBA All-Star. The weird thing about Williams and the hype bubble is that he's been overwhelmingly consistent throughout his career. He's a scorer who can dominate off the dribble and from long-range, but who often tries to get his teammates involved. He's a physical player who isn't always excellent at defense, but who can get things done. He's a floor leader whose had more wins than losses but who doesn't command the reputation of a Paul or a Jason Kidd.
The hype bubble inflates and deflates around Deron, who at his core is simply a really, really good NBA player. What I think confounds a lot of fans and writers is his completely weird off-court existence. He's creatively excellent in the community -- see his charity dodgeball event with Kyle Korver -- but a ruthless businessman, as evidenced by his decision to play for Besiktas during the lockout and to drag the Nets through this whole free agency thing. He's a floor leader strong enough to lead an odd bunch of players into the playoffs year after year in Utah, but opinionated enough to apparently send Jerry Sloan to retirement. He's the type of superstar that teams never give up until they have to -- who was nonetheless given up on early by the Jazz.
All of this contributes to the hype bubble, and that's why I think it's coming back. Williams will play a lot of point guard behind CP3 in London, and that's a recipe for success given that he'll have guys like Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Andre Iguodala to set up. His mix of shooting and strength will be way too much for most opponents (just as it is in the NBA). Then, when the 2012-13 NBA season begins, Brooklyn will be much, much better than they have been. The talent upgrade has been massive. This supporting cast might be better than Williams ever had in Utah, and one of those Jazz teams made it to the conference finals!
When his team has a winning record, we see only the best of Williams. That'll be the case in London, and when the Nets welcome Brooklyn to the NBA. He probably won't be as great as his most ardent supporters claim -- such is the way of the hype bubble -- but he'll be well worth your attention and your platitudes.