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Slumping Deron Williams throws some blame toward Nets system

Dec 18, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

Deron Williams, Avery Johnson AP

Remember how Deron Williams felt confined in the Jazz “flex” offense and reportedly his clashes with Jerry Sloan led to the long-time coach’s exit?

In hindsight, that offense wasn’t so bad.

In his last season in Utah (53 games before a surprising mid-season trade) Williams was averaging 21.3 points a game on 45.8 percent shooting, while dishing out 9.7 assists per game. He had a PER of 22.1. In contrast, this season in Brooklyn he is scoring 17 points a game on 38.8 percent shooting, with 8.3 assists per game and a PER of 17.4. Pick a category and Williams is worse at it after the trade, pretty consistently across the board.

As Ethan Sherwood Straus noted recently at Bleacher Report, part of the problem is Williams is not getting to the rim as often — that last season in Utah Williams got 4.3 shots a game inside the restricted area, this season that is 2.5 per game. He’s replaced that mostly with threes and Williams is shooting just 29.9 percent from three.

So now it’s Avery Johnson’s system that is part of the problem. It’s hard to take Williams’ comments any other way. Via Howard Beck at the New York Times.

“That system was a great system for my style of play,” Williams said of the “flex” offense run by Utah Coach Jerry Sloan. “I’m a system player. I love Coach Sloan’s system. I loved the offense there….

(Williams) was asked to compare the offense used by the Nets with the one he ran in Utah. “Is it as good as there? No,” he said. “There’s just more one-on-one and isos” in Johnson’s offense.

As Beck notes, the Nets have added some “UCLA” sets to the offense (something a lot of NBA teams run) to mimic some of the flex motion.

Williams may not have asked for a trade to New Jersey but the Jazz felt they had to move him before he just left. They played it smart, they did not get themselves into a Dwight Howard situation. Williams wanted some freedom in the offense, now he’s got it.

He says it’s just a matter of adjusting.

“I’m used to just movement,” he said, “so I’m still trying to adjust.”

But, Williams said, “I believe I can adapt to anything. We’re still a young team. Things don’t happen overnight. It’s still just December.”

We will see.

  1. money2long - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    “…Things don’t happen overnight. It’s still just December.”

    you hear that people? guys who buried the lakers weeks ago? smh. that’s just a friendly reminder of reality.

  2. nbascreed - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Kurt, I never heard that D-Will he felt confined and I’ve followed him since his start in the league. I thought he clashed with Sloan b/c he thought Sloan was on the tail end of his career and was giving too much responsibility to the assistants and such. His comments seem to contradict your statement as well. That is unless Williams is being purposely glib.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Yes, I believe he said they watched very little tape about opponents and that they
      didn’t review game to game strategy. Sloan was maybe showing his age, the guy
      is a HOF coach, nothing to be shamed about.

      I think D Will is looking for a coaching change, if not he would have said zero.

  3. cosanostra71 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Bleacher Report?

  4. iamjimmyjack - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    this guy sure likes to complain.

  5. 00maltliquor - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Koach Killa!!

  6. thomaskouns - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    I’ve followed D. Will for a long time and he always has an excuse – like a lot of NBA players.

    And by the way, he’s nowhere near as good as his Max Contract suggests. Part of the reason he had much higher numbers in Utah was their system that heavily favors PG’s. Take him out of that system and he’s much more pedestrian.

    Chris Paul took those lousy New Orleans teams to the playoffs every year because he made players much much much better around him. D. Will has no where near that talent level.

    • abasketballthing - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      He is a max contract player. Sloan’s system helped him, but he’s never had a fully healthy wrist and a respectable team at the same time. You can say it’s an excuse, but you have to admit Chris Paul hasn’t gone through that.

      Paul didn’t take any lousy team to the playoffs. He carried the teams’ offense at times, but Tyson Chandler carried the defense when he was there, and Monty Williams’ defensive schemes did the same later(most of those teams were actually better on defense than offense). Last season’s Nets had no good offensive players besides Williams and few good defensive players, none of which could make an impact as big as Chandlers. Their head coach was, and is, Avery Johnson. Chris Paul is, without a doubt, a better player than Deron Williams, but Williams is a star, and a top 3 point guard when healthy.

  7. BigBeachBall - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    He misses the franchise and coach that he burned? Shocker…

  8. fm31970 - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Wonder if he’d trade some of that max money to still be in Utah? Doubt it, and I can see why he’s hinting at a change, but still. The grass may be greener on the other side, but it’s just as hard to cut.

  9. savvybynature - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Maybe he just isn’t as good as he thinks he is.

  10. blowmebears - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    This guy is way over rated…and he did piss and moan about the system in Utah, now this…
    Time to look in the mirror chump!
    You just aint that good.

  11. edwardemanuelson - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Love hearing stuff like this. Maybe that old school old man wasn’t such a bad coach, after all, eh D Will?

  12. MyTeamsAllStink - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Why can’t he just say “Hey I’m not p,aging by best ball but I’m going to work through it”.No controversy and he’s accepting responsibility and we move on.Now he blames his coaches and looks even more like a whiner.

    • badintent - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      Please submit the ALL Pro Whiner NBA team of 2012. You may select players from different teams.Thank you.

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