What can we realistically expect from Deron Williams?

Brian Erni

We’ve all seen the splits regarding Deron Williams. When he’s good, the Nets are hard to beat. When he’s bad, not so much. So now that D-Will’s ankles have been cleared out and he’s on the road to recovery, what can Brooklyn realistically expect from their point guard upon his return?

Before delving into that question, it has to be noted that Williams is just not the same player he was in Utah. The per game break downs are pretty eye opening. In Utah, he averaged 17.3 points and 9.1 assists and shot 46.6% from the field. During his time with the Nets? Roughly the same amount of points (17.8, on an attempt more per game), but only 7.8 assists on 42.7% shooting. So what gives? What has made Williams a worse shooter (all accounted for on a slide in his two-point shooting) and less frequent distributor during his time in New Jersey and Brooklyn?dwill frustrated

Williams is surrounded by the most talent he’s ever been. The emergence of Shaun Livingston and acquisition of Marcus Thornton allowed Williams to play in the least amount of minutes per game (32.2) since his rookie season, so it’s hard to blame on wear and tear. In the playoffs, it was noticeable how infrequently Williams played aggressively, and he admitted that he lost confidence at times. So is this dip in production solely based on health? Or is something else at play?

It’s impossible to go into a guy’s head. No one can do that. But I wonder if being anointed the man for a team with his expectations just isn’t a situation D-Will thrives in. It’s possible. This isn’t a prototypical clutch shooter like Joe Johnson or Paul Pierce, who seem to thrive when the lights are the brightest. Maybe the whole ordeal — steering a franchise suddenly thrust into a top media market — just isn’t for him. Or maybe that’s too much psycho babble. It might just be that Williams can’t cut and drive to the basket the same way he did on ankles that are three years older and countless sprains later.

But that’s the question Billy King has to anticipate the answer to. Because, even though it seems like Williams has one foot out the door, I think fences could still be mended here. So does the Nets general manager bank on the fact that these procedures that Williams underwent on Tuesday will solve the dilemma? Or does he sell low knowing that he’s risking Deron bouncing back and being a full fledged star again, just in a different uniform? It’s a gamble either way, but King will have to bet wisely. The Nets need to know if Williams can lead them into the future, or just be another chapter in their checkered past. With this surgery completed, they’re officially on the clock.


Besides Deron Williams future with the Nets or injury problems another interesting topic is now that King knows the type of Offense and players Kidd would like to run how does he go about restocking the lineup?  Like I posted before I think the Nets have more assets and wiggle room then suggested, but who are some guys that fit the Kidd mold that could possibly come in on vet minimum deals and fill the places of guys who could walk like Blatche, Ak47, Livingston, Pierce, KG, and Anderson.  

What made Kidd's offense and defense click was when Brook went down they were able to switch Pierce to the 4 moving Livingston into the starting lineup.  However, what it really did was put a smaller more versatile lineup out on the floor meaning more guys who could switch and play multiple positions on defense and then take advantage of mismatches on Offense.  Pierce was small 4 but faster than most 4's and could take them off the dribble while spreading the floor.  Livingston and Johnson could switch and guard 3 positions as well.  Coming off the bench guys like Ak47 and Anderson and Mirza were also versitile enough to work into this switching defense and offensive system, which I think Kidd stole from Mike Woodson the year the Knick's were success moving Melo to the 4 spot.  The knicks had a tone of guys who could spread the floor and play small ball.  

This being said King might be looking for guys who fit this mold.  I read a report that the Nets were interested in the Knicks Toure.  Why? He can shoot it deep and he is big 6"5 point guard meaning he can guard 3 positions.  Sound familiar (Livingston).   I also saw that the Nets interviewed rookie prospect Thainass Antekembo.  Not surprising he is 6"7 with long arms and great athlete with good defensive potential.  Again fits the mold of versatile perimeter player. 

Here are some free agents I thought might fit if King could persuade them to take vet minimum deals:  

Stephan Jackson

Richard Jefferson

Jeremy Tyler 

Chris Singleton

Toure Murrey

Adonis Thomas

Royce White

CJ Miles

Thabo Safolosha

Again, with guys I thought might be available for part of a mid level or vet minimum.  Obviously there are much better players but when you are over the cap you have to look for diamonds in the rough sort of like they did with Anderson, Livingston, and Blatche.