Michael Scotto, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — C.J. Watson has found his NBA niche after going undrafted out of Tennessee in the 2006 NBA Draft. Watson is a combo guard with the ability to facilitate an offense or play off the ball as a running mate in an up-tempo attack.
Watson has backed up and played alongside players such as Baron Davis and Stephen Curry in Golden State, Derrick Rose in Chicago, and now Deron Williams in Brooklyn.
Watson spoke with SNY.tv about his decision to sign with Brooklyn at a reduced price, playing with Williams, and finding a rhythm with his new team.
After playing behind Rose, the youngest MVP in NBA history, some speculated that Watson would want to sign with a team where he could earn more playing time. However, Watson chose Brooklyn and backing up Williams for the veteran minimum.
“It wasn’t really in the plans like that, it just happened,” said Watson of backing up another top guard in Williams. “Fortunately, I’ve gotten to play with two great point guards (Rose and Williams) and I just tried to learn as much as I can from them and go from there.”
As Brooklyn prepared to begin a new chapter in franchise history, Watson wanted to be a part of the historical event.
“Yeah, it played a lot,” said Watson on the significance of signing with the Nets to play in Brooklyn. “I knew, when coach Johnson was here, he told me he would like to play me and Deron a lot together. This is the first year in the new city, the new hype, the new arena, the fans are great and they expect a lot of us.”
Like the Nets, Watson got off to a hot start before cooling off due to injury, but has since found his rhythm.
“It’s been pretty good,” said Watson. “I mean, it’s been slow for the most part, but I think as the season goes on, we’re going to keep getting our chemistry better and better.”
After sitting out two games for Brooklyn at the start of 2013, Watson has provided a spark off the bench for the Nets. In six games since returning to the lineup, Brooklyn has gone 5-1.
During that span, Watson has shot the ball efficiently from the field (13-for-26). According to Watson, playing with Williams in the backcourt has enabled him to expand his offensive game.
“It’s fun,” said Watson. “I get a lot of open shots and I just want to go out there and make a difference, play hard on defense, and just try to make (opponents) guard me on offense.”
When Williams goes to the bench, Watson is the primary ball handler and floor general setting up the offense.
Watson has also picked up his defensive intensity during the six-game stretch, averaging 1.3 steals per game. Over his career, Watson has been a ball hawk averaging 1.8 steals per game.
Looking ahead for the rest of the season, Watson hopes to continue his efficient play and contribute to more Brooklyn victories.
“I’m just trying to go out there and play hard when I get on the court, try to change the tempo, win as many games as possible, and just get us to the playoffs and see where we go from there,” said Watson.
Michael Scotto is an Analyst for SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter for the latest news from Brooklyn and the NBA: @MikeAScotto