Johnson: ‘Supreme Confidence’ In Deron Williams

HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – Seems a wee bit early into a five-year, $98 million contract for Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams to clip current coach Avery Johnson and pine for the one he provoked into sudden retirement.

With the Utah Jazz marching into Brooklyn on Tuesday night, Williams used Monday to delve a little deeper into his shooting slump with the New York media and fired a rare shot this season that hit its intended target.

Williams said he hasn’t been the same point guard since he left Utah, left Jerry Sloan and the offensive system Sloan ran like clockwork for 25 seasons and 54 games, the last 22 seasons and 54 games with the Jazz.

With a field-goal percentage holding under 40, and a 3-point percentage chilling in the 20s, Williams said he misses the motion offense, the cutting, the screening, the passing, the type of schemes he’s run since high school. He said he’s still adjusting to Johnson’s more isolation-based approach.

Surely his good buddy and new cross-town rival, Jason Kidd, told him as much during those summer golf outings in The Hamptons. After all, Kidd, in his short time with Johnson in Dallas, never invited the Little General to his birthday dinner.

So Williams tossed newly revealed system struggles on the pile of multiple bodily pains and strains, and a mental block he now says he’s up against as probable culprits for his poor shooting percentages.

Johnson said Monday that he has “supreme confidence” in Williams’ ability to snap out of it during a telephone interview with NBA.com conducted prior to Williams’ comments.

“First of all, everything starts in the mind. I told him he’s got to get it out of his mind, he’s not struggling. You’ve got to get that out of your mind,” Johnson said. “His shots are not wide left and wide right or short. Most of them are just going in the basket and kind of popping out a little bit. The main thing is his shots are right on target. He’s just got to work on his arc a little bit of getting it up and over. But for the most part his shot looks really, really good. He’s just had a couple of shots that’s popped in and out. It’ll come.”

Although the Nets have struggled of late, slipping to 13-10 after a 10-4 start, it’s not like they’ve hit an iceberg. They missed center Brook Lopez for seven games, going 2-5, and Gerald Wallace was out early. Still, Brooklyn has notched wins against the Knicks, the Clippers and Boston twice.

Through it all, Williams has struggled to make shots, including a couple late that could have affected outcomes. He’s shooting 38.8 percent from the floor and 33.9 percent on 3s in December with the Nets losing six of eight.

For the season, Williams is averaging 17.0 points (38.8 percent shooting and 29.9 percent on 3s) and 8.3 assists.

Johnson said Williams is still getting used to new personnel, and that he’s not concerned because time is still on Williams’ side.

“It’ll come and I think he’s still getting used to playing with Joe [Johnson] and finding the right spots when Joe gets double-teamed, because he used to be the guy to get double-teamed all the time and now it’s Joe,” Avery Johnson said. “So I just think he’s fine. I told him don’t over-think it, that’s why I haven’t called you into my office to have a big meeting because I got supreme confidence in you, and it’s 23 games, it’s not 46 games.

“If we’re at this point after 46 games or 64 games, then we can have a talk. But it’s kind of cycle of the season. He’s a really good shooter, he’s a terrific point guard and I just told him I’m not worried so he shouldn’t be worried about anything, so just play.”

Williams could have been playing for his hometown Dallas Mavericks and joined Dirk Nowitzki and likely Kidd, too (he almost certainly would have stayed in Dallas had Williams signed), and run 2011 championship coach Rick Carlisle’s “flow” offense.

He instead chose the more lucrative option and to lead the Nets’ transformation in Brooklyn and under Johnson,  having played 77 games in his system over parts of two seasons. The Jazz traded Williams in late February 2011, not coincidentally, just two weeks after Sloan surprisingly re-signed having lost a war of wills with his All-Star point guard.

So it would seem a wee bit early into a five-year, $98 million contract, into this season of rebirth with excitable fans and a re-tooled roster shaped to Williams’ liking — or so he said when he re-signed — for Williams to decide to selectively reminisce.

“I was telling the guys just play free and have fun, and we don’t want anybody on our team to put the whole weight of the team on their shoulders,” Johnson said. “That’s why we’re a team. We’re not one individual, we’re a team. Joe started off slow and I predicted he would come around in the middle of December. So he’s coming around.

“Deron is going to be fine. So I just think guys need to relax, don’t press, just have fun. This is a fun time in their lives.”

20 Comments

  1. the bull says:

    d-will is a slump point guard.. he doesn’t deserve this $98 million contract. He is not a consistent player.

    • slider821 says:

      I think both Boozer and DWill’s decline after leaving Utah shows exactly how a great coach can make good players seem like superstars. Once both of them left that system, they got huge contracts but become mediocre players because they don’t excel on pure talent.

      DWill disgraced Sloan and will never get my respect and now he’s crying about this offense. Give me a break, DWIll is just missing shots and looking for someone else to blame. That attitude will never win a championship. Combined with JJ’s contract, the Nets are the most overpaid, underperforming team in the league. Only Lopez, Humphries, and Blatche are doing well for what they earn.

      • dattebayo says:

        Blatche has been surprisingly good, but Lopez and Humphries could do a lot better. I mean Evans outplays Humphries in almost every game and he only earns a tenth of what Humphries gets.

      • Rocket33 says:

        Exactly Slider821. Coach Sloan and his system had them playing Stockton and Malone style basketball. Obviously not on that level but they were a really good combination and Utah was one of the top teams in the West. Boozer wanted a bigger contract so the team lost him. This has since proven to be an overpaid contract. Williams got to New Jersey with expectations of turning them into a playoff team. Injuries to Brook Lopez didn’t help but a 22-44 record is not good enough for a team with a superstar.

        My point is not to spread D-Will hate, I think he is a good player. I just think he needs to man up a bit on this one. He’s not hitting shots and it appears he’s looking to blame Avery Johnson’s system instead of working harder himself. It could be an issue with playing alongside Joe Johnson. JJ likes to have the ball in his hands in isolation to score. If they could get him running off screens Rip Hamilton style that might work better. And have D-Will running pick and rolls with Blatche.

  2. […] Mavericks, Deron Williams, Dirk Nowitzki, Gerald Wallace, Jason Kidd, Jeff Caplan, Jerry Sloan / 11 Comments […]

  3. […] Johnson thinks time is on Deron Williams’ side and that he will snap out of his funk. And though that may very well be the case, there’s no […]

  4. unnamed says:

    D-will is one of the overrated players in the NBA right now. A good player but not the superstar type of player and also not worth the contract that he signed for.

  5. Willy says:

    A couple of things, agree with the coach, any other NBA team would want him on their side, maybe JJ too, and Tony Parker is in the top 5 guards in the NBA. A great fun team to watch, they will make the playoffs and peak late in the year with the 3zzzz fallin from everywhere!

  6. jetchicken says:

    they’ll be fine, it seems joe and deron are kind of alike, in the fact of them both taking time to adjust. when they both get fully comfortable they’ll kill the competition, lopez and blatche are only going to get better aswell. so this nets team is headed in one direction and that is up!

  7. […] Johnson: 'Supreme Confidence' In Deron WilliamsNBA.com (blog)HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – Seems a wee bit early into a five-year, $98 million contract for Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams to clip current coach Avery Johnson and pine for the one he provoked into sudden retirement. With the Utah Jazz marching into …D-Will says he's not the same since joining NetsKGO-TVUtah Jazz vs. Brooklyn Nets: NBA Picks Against the SpreadMaddux Sports (blog)Jazz-Nets PreviewCBSSports.comHoopsWorldall 27 news articles » […]

  8. They going to get Rondoized next time!!! :)

  9. […] Johnson: 'Supreme Confidence' In Deron Williams « NBA.com | Hang Time BlogNBA.com (blog)HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – Seems a wee bit early into a five-year, $98 million contract for Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams to clip current coach Avery Johnson and pine for the one he provoked into sudden retirement. With the Utah Jazz marching into …Deron Williams: I'm not the sameESPNUtah Jazz vs. Brooklyn Nets: NBA Picks Against the SpreadMaddux Sports (blog)Jazz-Nets PreviewCBSSports.comall 27 news articles » […]

  10. Nore says:

    I dont like the Brooklyn Nets … There is only one New York and thats the Knickerbockers!!!!

    And even if they would have stayed in Jersey – This is a Team that is driven by a russian oil Billionair and that snake Jay Z … Dont ever i would want to be a part of something like that!!

    Look how much money they spent … -just to finally be ready to compete – this is not a team that grew together – just like miami it has been bought together – and the roster looks like a mutant to me – not because its super good (while its pretty good obviosly) but something is strange about them – dont even like theyre style of play and all the characters … Dont like Joe Johnson – overrated, overpayed, thinks hes a star but is just pretty good 2 – no harden, no wade or bryant …
    Never liked D-Will, even if i have to admit hes a top 5 point guard in the NBA ( the others would be DRose, Westbrook, CP3 and Rondo) he has a bad additute and seems to be very arrogant – but in that part he resembles Joe Johnon a lot so not a bad idea to put them together – Humphries is a fat cry Baby, though hes a good rebounder i dont like him at all! Brook is a very good 5, but not versatile enough – yes you heared right, when i would be as big as he is i could defend him in sleepingtime – the only cool dude is crash – he should come to the real New York and Backup Melo Hahaha

    And dont call me hater know cause im a Knicks Fan – just like i said even if they would have stayed in Jersey … If you like them okay! I don’t – just a real ugly look and i dont mean lookwhise in the first place hahaha. Hope they never win anything – this russian and jay z should F**k off – out of the NBA – then Brooklyn could reastablish – get a few new players and maybe i could live with them ;-)

    Greetings from Germany

    GO KNICKS!

  11. Jimbo says:

    D-Will come back to Utah!

    • Rocket33 says:

      Why do you want him back? He threw one of the best coaches in NBA history under the bus, then bolted on the team anyway. Now he sees things weren’t so bad under Coach Sloan. Too bad! I wonder if Dwight Howard is starting to think the same way about his time in Orlando?

      • Butt says:

        Are you being serious right now? Deron didn’t bolt. There was no way he could have bolted. The Jazz traded him in a secret midnight deal. He had no idea it was going to happen until he saw it on ESPN. The Jazz didn’t even call him.

        Also, complaining to management isn’t exactly throwing someone under the bus. Jazz management should’ve handled the situation better, and a younger Sloan wouldn’t have ANY player run him out of town.

      • TrueNBAFan says:

        Rocket33 you obviously dont know what you’re talking about.

        Firstly, Sloan has openly said D-Will had nothing to do with his retirement, he also said “If you think a young whelp like Deron could force me to retire, you don’t know me”. Sloan dealt with Karl Malone’s ego and attitude for years, and it was far worse then D-Will ever got.

        Secondly, D-Will didn’t bolt out of Utah, the Jazz jumped the gun and traded him without his knowledge.

        Any real Jazz fan would love to get D-Will back.

      • Rocket33 says:

        OK, so he didn’t LeBron James bolt, but the Jazz traded him for the same reason Orlando traded Dwight Howard. He had openly said that he signed a shorter length deal so he could get out of there. He didn’t like some of the moves that management had made. The Jazz just did a more efficient job in trading him than what we saw with “Dwightmare” and “Melodrama”. Bottom line is that he didn’t want to be there so I’m curious as to why Jazz fans would want him back.

  12. Just be says:

    i say Williams come to l.a.l. put them down with ‘em 3’s

    • TrueNBAFan says:

      D-Will has said in the past he doesn’t want to play for the Lakers, nor could the Lakers afford D-Will even if he did want to go there.