Williams Makes Kidd-like Impact

BROOKLYN – Jason Kidd was not in the building when the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks met for the first time ever at Barclays Center on Monday night. Dealing with back spasms, Kidd couldn’t make the trip across the bridge.

But Deron Williams was there, and he had a little Kidd in his game on this night, leading the Nets to a 96-89 overtime victory with a season-high 14 assists.

Williams admired Kidd growing up in Dallas, and when it comes to size and strength at the point guard position, there’s certainly a comparison to be made. But skill-wise, they’re pretty different. And when it comes to making brilliant, how-did-he-see-that-angle passes that set up teammates for easy buckets, nobody in the post-Magic era compares to Kidd.

On Monday, though, Williams had that (no pun intended) magic in his hands.

When he needs to shoot the ball, those hands have been failing Williams of late. Dealing with injuries to his wrist and elbow, he shot just 6-for-17 on Monday and has made just four of his last 25 3-point attempts.

His numbers were far from overwhelming on Monday. But the vision Williams showed — he had as many assists as the Knicks had as a team — more than made up for the errant shots. It was a close to a Kidd-like performance as you’re going to see from another point guard.

Eight of Williams’ 14 dimes were for buckets in the restricted area — high-percentage looks that helped the Nets accumulate 48 points in the paint in what was an offensive struggle at times. Williams found Brook Lopez in transition, Gerald Wallace cutting backdoor, Lopez rolling to the rim and Kris Humphries under the basket for an easy dunk. He even had one pass that was so good that Reggie Evans (17 field goal attempts in 239 minutes this season) had no choice but to put the ball in the basket.

A couple of Williams’ assists came on simple passes around the perimeter, but most were difficult, thread-the-needle dimes through traffic — the kind of highlights that Kidd would be proud of.

“He gift wraps buckets for me,” Lopez said afterward. “He makes my job so much easier.”

Perhaps, until he’s healthy and his shots are falling, Williams needs to be more of a distributor. He certainly has enough talent around him where he doesn’t need to carry much of the scoring load. And he also has the size to take point guards into the post and pick defenses apart from the low block, where many of his assists came from on Monday.

The atmosphere at Barclays Center for the first Brooklyn-New York game was electric. And though the winner of the game was not given a key to the city, it did have importance beyond the standings on Tuesday morning. Both these teams feel like they belong behind the Heat on the Eastern Conference contender list. And it’s games like this that will get them there.

It was one of 82, but Williams wasn’t afraid to admit that this one was a little special. And though Carmelo Anthony (35), Tyson Chandler (28) and Lopez (22) were the game’s leading scorers, it was Williams who made the biggest impact.

“Deron is a big-stage player,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “He really dominated the game.”

Knicks-Nets was always Kidd’s showcase. When he played in these games for New Jersey, he owned the Knicks and Madison Square Garden. The Nets were 23-4, including a postseason sweep in 2004, against New York with Kidd in uniform. He was (and still is) a special player on any given night, but you always got Hall-of-Fame-level Jason Kidd when the Knicks were the opponent.

Knicks-Nets has a whole new feel to it now that it’s a borough-vs-borough affair, and now that Kidd is wearing the blue and orange. And maybe it’s Williams’ time to make an impact on the rivalry. He got off to a pretty good start on Monday.

16 Comments

  1. Requiem says:

    If you think Rondo is better pg than Deron Williams then you know nothing about basketball. Rondo got lucky to be on the same team as the ‘big three’ who would had won the championship with or without him. If you would had put Williams in that same situation, Boston would had repeat or even three peat with the players they had. You let Rondo run a team by himself and you’re getting no better than the Wizards of this year. Jason Kidd could carry a team, Stockton sure as hell could, Chris Paul and D-Rose can too but Rondo wouldn’t even get close.

  2. vern says:

    That was a good game and it came down to the wire. You really didn’t know who was gonna win until the final whistle. Both teams played hard. I think the Knicks (Felton) made a few bad decisions near the end of regulation.
    The fans will make the rivalry. One thing I learned while watching is New York has (2) good teams and now more than ever I think New York will be in the conference finals. Which team I don’t know. As for me, I’m just glad I have (2) good teams to watch on t.v. The only time I’ll have to choose a side is when they play each other.

  3. Walt says:

    Y’all must be Knicks fans cas that man was ballin’ yesterday..

  4. KC says:

    Deron is a special player. He’s hurt right now but he’s always been PG elite. Have to agree with the other posters here, though. At least in the last 3 seasons, there have been PGs who played better. D Rose, Rondo, Chris Paul come to mind. Maybe Deron just hasn’t been on a team that was in contention. Maybe this is his year now that he’s backed up by some real talent.

  5. heroes del silencio says:

    stockton, rondo, payton, bibby, davis, parker, paul, nash are in the same league of comparison to kidd and some are even better playmakers… just saying this author did not researched his article.

  6. trav says:

    Uh yeah stop overrating deron Williams……joke

    • W/E says:

      Id pick J.Kidd for my team even if hes 40 instead of D-Will

    • CP For 3 says:

      Thank you! Deron is very overrated his entire career souly due to his size, look at the numbers and the poor efficiency and you will see he hasnt been as good as Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo his entire carreer not to mention Steve Nash whom he shares the common trait of not playing defense with.

      • Logic says:

        Yes, Deron Williams is overrated and Chris Paul isnt. But so far The nets are 9-4 and the clippers are 8-6 with one of those losses at the hands of the nets. And dont even TRY to tell me the nets have the better team. His size isnt the reason Lopez is playing this well, or that Kris Humphries is. Please watch him play first before you comment. Btw, just a little extra info… his match-ups vs. Chris Paul are 14-4 in favour of Williams. Guess Chris Paul can’t out-play an overrated point guard…

  7. baconlovemavericks says:

    Deron Williams isn’t Kidd-like in anyway. Deron is more of a SG than a PG. If we want to make him “kidd” Like, He needs to have like 30 double doubles and at least 5 triple doubles. J-Kidd is the best overall stats point guard to ever play the game and one of the best players. Oh not only for this season but for the next several seasons

    • dude says:

      oscar robertson AVERAGED a triple double those are some pretty nice stats mister baconlovemavericks. thats the best ever stats point guard

    • Muse says:

      Just because he has the ability to score doesn’t make him a SG, he’s definitely a PG

  8. Stu says:

    Williams is a brilliant PG. I would have loved to watch him against Kidd last night!

  9. CelticsBanner18 says:

    they never heard of rajon rondo? hes mire comparable to kidd than anyone else has ever been

  10. cam says:

    as close as anyone can get to being like Kid? Kid the best post magic point guard? are stockton and nash chopped liver?

  11. K says:

    Kidd never was a bad shooter. He is top 3 all time in 3 ponters made! You don’t make that stat by just hitting shots in the last 3 years. He always was good. Kidd been in the league for 18 years. You cant expect me to take you serious if you are only going to judge him from his rookie and sophmore years. Kidd has been money from down town in the past 16 years. He has a better 3pt shooting percentage than Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Melo, and who ever else you thought shot better than Kidd!