Nets’ Deron Williams No Help In Team’s Identity Crisis In Offense

84934328493432Much was made out of Deron Williams admitting that he wasn’t doing well under Avery Johnson’s offense. He longed for Jerry Sloan’s “flex” offense in Utah. To me, I didn’t think it was a big deal because they have a lot of new players and the whole team is going through an adjustment. He even admitted that he’ll continue to adjust to what Avery wants. And I’d rather not speculate on what happened in Utah. The bottom line was that Deron is now in Brooklyn and Jerry Sloan resigned as the head coach of the Jazz in 2011. That’s that.

But maybe Deron just refuses to blame himself for any trouble. Dave D’Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger thinks so. Check these scathing remarks:

We figured it was time to have this chin-wag — even after a decent but disappointing night at the Garden — because you’re a sensitive soul who needs to be approached carefully even when we venture into something intended as a friendly critique.

This has less to do with how you play — which is bad enough, you readily admit nowadays — than how you act, which is just one evening gown shy of a diva. And by now you may have sensed that everyone around you seems unwilling to share their candid observations with you.

Not done! More from D’Alessandro…

We heard you blame your troubles on coach Avery Johnson, and pine for the days when that wise old crank in Utah ran stuff that was better suited to your individual skills.

Trust us: The national response was raucous laughter, because you were the guy responsible for getting Jerry Sloan to decide after 27 years that he’d rather live with his 30 tractors in McLeansboro, Ill., than put up with your insubordination.

Now you say Sloan was best for your career, not to mention the $100 million contract that validates it? That’s rich.

Deron Williams has fallen off, though. His shooting has not been good ever since he was shipped to Brooklyn. This season, while he’s averaging good numbers of 16.8 points and 8.2 assists, he’s shooting a dreadful .396 from the field and .294 from behind the arc.

The rumblings have grown larger about the Nets’ offense; they seem to be running more isolations. In fact, Joe Johnson was railed for running a ton of isolation plays when he was in Atlanta (known as “Iso-Joe”).

Mike Prada from SB Nation thinks Deron is struggling because the Nets simply have no identity on offense.

We forget how many new players the team has. More importantly, we forget how many players they have who are used to the plays being structured for them rather than having to work off other stars. The Nets’ offense now is a weird amalgam of Jerry Sloan-style Flex action (Williams’ old offense), Horns sets (where the two big men initiate the offense from the elbow), Hawks-style baseline screens, guard-guard picks (Joe Johnson’s offense), standard high-pick-and-rolls and shuffle cuts to free up Brook Lopez. It’s as if they are running many different offensive systems, each tailored to one of their stars.

I also think that they’ll eventually develop some more trust for each other where they aren’t breaking plays to play hero-ball, like they did in the third quarter against the Knicks.

It will take time for the Nets; there are a few new players in Brooklyn after all. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez hadn’t played much together yet, either (remember that Lopez only played five games in the 2011-12 season). But it is time for Deron Williams to step up. No excuses. Just get the job done and help figure out the offense for the Nets. It is the point guard’s job to fix what ails the offense and they can’t rely on isolations the entire time; it’s not a good recipe for winning basketball.

Once Williams and the Nets figure it out, we can all forget about what was said here.


Rey Moralde is a Southern California native who has a passion for basketball, old-school video games, sushi, and terrible pop music.

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