Deron Williams struggles this year have not gone unnoticed around the league and his backcourt mate Joe Johnson is making the same people think twice about the Nets investment in both players. And last night’s surprising victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder won’t change that just yet.
Before the game, SI.com made an All-Dissapointment team for the NBA’s first part of this 2012/13 season…
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets: Regardless of whether you blame Avery Johnson (who has lost his job based on Brooklyn’s .500 record) or Williams himself, this has been a lackluster season for a point guard once considered to be the class of his profession. A wrist injury and a meager supporting cast helped explain away Williams’ struggles with efficiency over the last few seasons, but reasonably good health and roster renovations now put his errant shooting on display for all to see. He has a big man to work with in Brook Lopez. He has two talented (and very different) scorers on the wings in Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace. He has the ball in his hands, and now has Avery Johnson’s slow-down offense in ruin. It’s now up to Williams to live up to his own game,
something he hasn’t done for a while.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets: This season was supposed to mark Johnson’s return to life off the ball, but instead the Nets unearthed Iso Joe — the bane of basketball purists everywhere that had allegedly been buried upon Johnson’s exit from Atlanta. Johnson can manufacture and convert jump shots on his own, but that doesn’t make such an option prudent for the team’s offense, particularly on a Brooklyn club with so many other capable players off whom to work. Johnson’s struggles in hitting open jump shots are separate from his role in the offense, but keeping him tied to such a static role certainly hasn’t helped pull him out of his slump. He’s clearly due for some pretty significant improvement, but only if the Nets’ new coach gives the offense some room to breathe and enables Johnson to benefit more directly from the talent around him.
John Paolantonio, ContributorIt’s hard to argue with this even though both players turned in pretty amazing performances against the Thunder on Wednesday night. Afterwards, Joe Johnson said that the Nets have too much talent to be a .500 team and we tend to agree.
If the Nets can turn the corner and string together a few wins, maybe they can make December a distant memory.