Deron Williams has been questioned for his recent comments about how much he enjoyed playing in the Utah Jazz offense and how he is trying to get accustomed to the Brooklyn Nets style of offense and their different “style” of play. Some people believe that Williams is using his comments as a crutch for his poor play and others feel that he may have a point.
What does a point guard who played in Utah then left via free agency only to return to Utah thinks about Williams comments?
Mo Williams knew well the symptoms his predecessor described to New York media this week. He, too, once played in the Utah offense and then left it.
“I could tell the difference,” the Jazz point guard said, sitting courtside before Tuesday’s 104-94 win in Brooklyn. “Trust me.”
D-Will earned tabloid time and some wondered if his intent was to force out another coach, as he is often accused of having done to Jerry Sloan in Utah.
He said when a player becomes accustomed to the Jazz’s “flex”-based offense, it can be difficult, particularly for a point guard, to adjust to a system dependent on isolation plays, like the one he encountered when he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2004 after spending his rookie year with the Jazz.
“The biggest difference when you leave,” he said, “is other players haven’t been at Utah, so they don’t know how that system really is. They don’t know, you can get frustrated at times in the sense that you wonder why guys don’t know how to play the ‘right way.’ “
Sloan’s offense is one of many things he left behind when he abruptly resigned from the Jazz days before the franchise shipped Deron Williams to New Jersey. The offense has been modified and tweaked by Corbin, but fundamentally, it has remained the same. In basic motion-based sets, with cutters, cross screens and big guys pinning their man on the block, a point guard knows where he will find a player at a given time.
Deron Williams on Monday said, “That system was a great system for my style of play. I’m a system player. I love coach Sloan’s system. I loved the offense there.”
Corbin said he believed it after seeing the Nets play Tuesday.
“They got two layups on two of our sets,” he said. “[Gerald] Wallace got one, then Deron got one on the other side.”
Old-fashioned, yes, but the Jazz’s offense has worked for decades, even if it didn’t look like it in Wednesday’s 104-84 loss in Indiana.
It’s no coincidence that the NBA’s all-time assists leader, John Stockton, spent his entire career with the team, nor that a point guard considered shoot-first of the highest order — Mo Williams — has them ranked fifth in assists this season.
The Jazz currently rank 10th in points per 100 possessions, and have ranked in the top 10 in that category in 17 of the seasons since Jerry Sloan’s first full year as the Jazz head coach in 1989-90.
“It’s movements,” Mo Williams said. “It’s action. I don’t get [isolation plays]. Even though I’m a great iso player, I don’t think that’s the right way to play the game.”
Deron Williams, clearly thinks the Jazz do play the right way.
And the Jazz weren’t about to disagree.
[RELATED CONTENT - #Nets will go as far as DWill will take them]
John Paolantonio, Contributor
Williams body language at times in his stint with New Jersey and now Brooklyn has been my concern and I understood his tendency to have poor body language at times with the talent he had around him in New Jersey but their is no excuse for it now in Brooklyn.
Mo Williams comments do hold water with me and hopefully Nets fans too, when it comes to having patience that is, but the bottom line is that if you are a top tier point guard you should be able to run and dominate any system any coach wants to run.
Williams has been in Avery Johnson’s system, which has been somewhat tailored to the Jazz system because of Deron, long enough now to adjust and get back to being that top ten talent that coaches and GM’s raved about.
Utah is in the past and Brooklyn is now and the future so it is now up to Williams to make it work.