As posited by Hoopshype.com, J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams and Jason Williams will be dueling for playing time at their respective NBA franchises this season. The matchups are interesting, particularly because of the college rivalries they rekindle. Hoopshype breaks it down as follows:

Jay Williams vs. Marcus Williams, New Jersey. As far as first-round picks go, it’s been a tough few months for Marcus Williams. First, he falls out of the lottery to the Nets at No. 22. Then the Nets tell everyone how fired up they are that he’ll be Jason Kidd’s backup at point guard. Then they go out and sign Jay Williams, a former lottery pick who sat out for the past three years following a motorcycle accident. It’s hard to believe Jay Williams could be anywhere near the level of player he once was. But if he is, only one Williams will likely remain as Kidd’s caddy after the All-Star break.

Marvin Williams vs. Shelden Williams, Atlanta. Granted, Marvin Williams is more of a swing forward, while Shelden Williams is pretty much glued to the low post, more of an undersized center than power forward. Still, someone will need to take all those minutes left by Al Harrington (traded to Indiana). And while Shelden Williams is the rookie and Marvin Williams is the second-year player, Shelden is actually three years older. Plus, there’s the fact they were on opposite ends of college basketball’s greatest rivalry, with Marvin a North Carolina product and Shelden hailing from Duke.

JJ Redick vs. Keith Bogans, Orlando. No it doesn’t sound like much of a battle, considering Redick is lottery pick and Bogans has played OK for mostly bad teams during his young career. But if the Magic are to build on last season’s outstanding finish, they need a steady perimeter guy to complement Dwight Howard’s dominance down low and Jameer Nelson’s penetration. Redick won’t be handed the starting job, regardless of status. And Bogans returned to Orlando from Charlotte with the idea of starting in mind. It will be interesting to see who emerges for opening day.

One tends to think that of the three, Jason Williams has the biggest challenge ahead of him, having not played competitively since his motorcycle accident. That he has come this far is remarkable in and of itself–that cannot be overstated. What J-Will has done is testament to his work ethic, to his dedication and to his strength of character. But those three traits are precisely why getting this far will simply not be enough. The question is whether or not his body can keep up with his spirit. Here’s hoping that it is.

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