D-Will In The Danger Zone?



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – A mere three or four seasons ago, the best point guard in the NBA debate was divided two or three ways. You were either in the Chris Paul camp, the Deron Williams camp or the someone else camp.

But those first two guys, both products of the 2005 NBA Draft, were staples. You either loved the leadership, craftiness and feisty attitude that Paul brings to the party or the size, skill-set and shot-making component Williams possessed.

All that was before Derrick Rose slugged his way into the conversation, and won a MVP trophy that neither Paul nor Williams has. (Older mainstays like Steve Nash and Tony Parker belong in the conversation but are rarely included in conversations about the future of the position for obvious reasons.) It was also before guys like Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook began to emerge and grow. And since then, All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday have led the youth movement at the position.

Blasphemous as this seems to say out loud, Williams is in real danger of falling behind the pack. His possible demotion is due to a combination of injuries, uncharacteristic play and the fact that his contemporaries seem to be leading rising teams while he’s the bandleader of a mismatched Brooklyn bunch that can’t figure out exactly what they are.

No one is disputing that Williams is one of the best the league has seen during his time in the NBA. But in the what-have-you-done-lately world of the NBA, two seasons of substandard play, as judged by the lofty bar Williams set himself, makes the slippage hard to ignore.

Williams is sitting out the Nets’ final game before the All-Star break, the first he’ll watch from home since 2009, due to synovitis (an inflammation of ankle joint linings) in both of his ankles.  He received PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment on both ankles and it scheduled to return next week.

But take a look at his work in the 50 games he’s played this season —  averaging 16.7 points, 7.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds while shooting just 41 percent from the floor. His scoring average is his lowest since his second season in the league, when he was with Utah, and his assists his lowest since his rookie season. In fact, he’s seen his assist numbers decrease in each of the past two seasons, a decline that followed four straight seasons where he averaged double-digit dimes.

Nets general manager Billy King still believes in his prized point guard, the man who immediately assumed face of the franchise status when King snatched him from the Jazz in a surprising trade deadline deal in 2011. He told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News as much, insisting that Williams can regain his status among the top two or three point guards in the league as soon he gets healthy:

“I’ve seen it,” the GM said. “He’s done it.”

King ratcheted up his defense of Williams when pressed further. .He admitted Williams has “not had the best year,” but attributed that mostly to injuries, exhaustion and a lack of explosiveness.

He compared the circumstances to Carmelo Anthony’s last season, when the Knicks forward struggled with an elbow injury and Mike D’Antoni’s system.

Amid speculation that Williams has also been slowed by weight-gain, King said the three-time All-Star is just one pound heavier than when he was dealt from Utah.

“You’re digging. You’re digging. And you’re asking valid questions, but (the inflammation to Williams’ ankles) is not a concern,” King said. “Kobe’s had the blood-platelet spinning on his knees, and guys have had it. It happens. So let’s not make this a bigger issue than it is. Let’s let him get through this, have a week off and get back to playing basketball. Let’s not put the dirt on him and say his career’s over at 28.

“I think the same questions were asked last year about Carmelo Anthony when they were struggling and people were writing him off, saying is he’s not the same player. I think he bounced back this year.”

…  “Am I confident he’s going to get back to being Deron Williams? Yes.”

Williams needs all the believers he can get. Because the Nets, a team that continues to come up in trade talks with the Feb. 21 trade deadline looming, have to get things right as the postseason nears.

They’ve spent boatloads of cash and made a splashy entrance in their new arena in Brooklyn. The expectations rose with each and every headline they made in putting this team together. If they’re going to come anywhere close to realizing those expectations, they’ll need Williams to get back being the point guard we all saw during his Jazz days.

48 Comments

  1. Bernie Musumeci says:

    If the nets are going to continue playing this lathargic system PJ is Running Deron needs to get back his offensive prowless , I think the nets should trade both Deron and Joe Johnson and definitely get rid of PJ, and Get some Speedy Youth in the back court, spend the $ and bring in a real Coach like Phil Jackson to wake up this team, I have been a Nets fan since the Days of Dr J. And I don’t like the current roster, these players do not compliment each other, I would Keep Lopez, Blatch, brooks, and Wallace and trade the rest of these guys, we need speed, Demon Speed is what we need , our Back court is slow, lathargic and plays with no heart!
    We may be ranked fourth in the east, but there is a long way to go and it’s going to be one round and out unless these guys lern to play with heart together as a team

  2. john says:

    certain players always seem to decline after they sign a huge contract

  3. Mr. Wilson says:

    The nets team as a whole isoverrated, if you look at the teams they beat like 20-4 against sub.500 teams when they play quality teams they are a not so good10-8 vs above .500 teams, honestly i cant see the nets getting out of the first round no matter who they play. in regards to dwill he was once a great PG but in recent years he has succumb to injurys and his game has suffered; he doesnt have the same explosiveness he once had, if u watch him play he takes alot more jumpers than he used to which isnt good considering one of his injurys is a wrist related injury which prevented him from following through on his jumpshot which if you know anything about shooting is a MAJOR MAJOR part of consistent shooting. since he doesnt draw as much attention to himself offensively its been difficult for him to find his open teamates. Now Joe Johnson Ive always thought was overrated he isnt a 20 ppg scorer unless he takes 18-20 shots a game, he is a solid sg but i dnt think he is an allstar, he cant single handedly take over a game like kobe, wade, or harden can which in my opinion are the only true Allstar two-guards in this League.

  4. Bdizzle says:

    Dwill has always been overrated. Have his teams gone deep into the playoffs? The guy is over paid as well. In fact both Nets guards are. JJ left the suns to be number one, money had always been his motive. Let’s face it, the Nets guard combo is simply overrated and way overpaid.

    • Jimbo says:

      H—-i——w—–a—-y to the danger zone, gonna take you right into the danger zoOOOOONNNNEEEE.

      I love that song!

  5. hoodnasty says:

    1-paul 2-parker 3-irving , others are a joke (westbrook yes, he is a joke, and mentally weak) . when d rose is not injured, it’s 1-paul 2-rose 3-parker. you’re welcome

  6. Addi says:

    Hah, D Will sidelines after that clinic Parker put on, a little effort trying to lead would do D Will good instead of just sitting there and getting out of shape

  7. bfG says:

    DWill is still one of the best 3 PG in this leaguer with Rondo and Paul (not counting Rose with his injury). He doesn’t have Blake Griffin or Paul Pierce with him, and he tries to have a team first spirit (more than he did with Utah). Just give him some time. Plus the Nets ain’t a bad spot right now, people have to stop only looking at the scoreboard, he’s leading his team in the right way so far.

  8. Swish41 says:

    He was a big fish in a small pond. He’s good, dont get me wrong, but in utah there was really no pressure to win and be a top level star night in and night out. They had a good run to get to the west finals, and the league threw the “potential” tag on him. Now in Brooklyn, with a decent supporting cast the excuses r gone and he’s not producing like he should. 1st it was the coaching(Avery) now its injuries(which ALOT of players r playing thru pain right now) Its put up or shut up time, and maybe he should just shut up……..Maybe its a good thing for the Mavs they missed out on him…..He’s not worth a max contract

  9. big cat says:

    the best point guard PLAYING in the east RIGHT NOW believe it or not is john wall .

    • ywlee says:

      agreed

    • 34yr fan says:

      …you mean the guy who stopped in the middle of a play to tie his shoes…….sure he is….what a joke…… Kyrie is almost twice as good !!……He is just another so-called superstar that would rather count his money than work Harder to improve his game.

  10. Deron doesn't use his Kill Switch!!! says:

    I’ve seen just about every PG in the league go into Kill Mode, where they don’t care who’s in front of them and

    they take over a game. Deron probably uses his the least of all ALL-Star PG’s during the season, and even less in the playoffs.

    He has it, but he prefers shooting 3’s and deferring to Joe Johnson and Lopez.

  11. the drop can be caused because of the system that the nets are playing. also sharing backcourt with another star could very well be another reason. he def. aint too old or slowing down in my opinion

  12. W/E says:

    There are some players that they come strong in the league seeming to have potential but actually they dont, they are just good basketball players but not franchise star players, more like decent players who can start for any team but no where near Franchise type and they stay like this their whole career and there are so many of them, like Joe Johnson and Deron Williams..

  13. Ro says:

    It’s not like his numbers are terrible! 17 and 8? Thats pretty close to what he normally averages. If he’s carrying an injury then guys like him are going to struggle a little. He’s not a super explosive Rose/Westbrook, so if his ankle or knee isnt right, then of course his numbers and % will be down.
    Utah’s flex offense suited him perfectly, cos he would get the ball on a reversal, and he can make a first step or cross over extremely well when someone is closing out on him.
    He’ll be fine, he is still a stellar player. I would say CP is the best overall PG. Rose is close, especially with his jumper improving. Russ cant control a game well, and Rondo seems to chest bump refs and get suspended.
    I agree with Drazen, why is Tony Parker referenced in this article as an ‘older mainstay’ ?? Nash is what 39? TP is 30!! He’s not old he’s in his prime i would say!

    • N says:

      Best point guards
      Paul
      Drose
      Rrondo
      Westbrook
      Parker
      Irving
      Dwill
      Step curry
      Bjening
      Nash
      Do you agre?

      • cal says:

        Best pg means ur best at everything. Rondo can’t shoot outside and freethrow, why is he 3rd. Beside that I agree w ur list

      • JJOHN says:

        CP3 is better pg. But Drose is the best overall player playing the point position

      • Marco29 says:

        How can you put Westbrook over Parker? he is a better scorer (but with a low % while Parker is above .500, .400 at 3pt and .800 in FT) but has not shown any ability to run his team and make other players better. Also he is turning over the ball to much.
        I would definitely put Parker ahead and Irving as well.

      • Jimbo says:

        I wouldn’t put Rondo so high, He can’t shoot the ball. And, I would actually throw in Wall, Lillard, Lawson, Rubio, and Dragic above Jennings and Nash. You must live in Los Angeles to put Nash up there. You cannot be serious, Nash, cannot defend a turtle trying to get from the sand to the ocean.

      • Jimbo says:

        As of right now…

        Paul
        Parker
        Westbook (baby, egomaniac, needs to grow up)
        Irving
        Wall
        Lillard

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….It is just the same ol’–same ol’ SA under the radar….no controversy no headlines……Tony is Much better than this dude will EVER be!! …And if Stevie N was Really that good, the he wouldn’t be chasing rings with the LA LA crown….lol Williams is all hype and will Never be a franchise type of player, just a good complimentary type……with a big mouth! Look where its gotten him….Nowhere! Utah is only 2 games back of tha Nets without him, so he is NOT missed in the least….didn’t agree with what Avery told him so he whined an got him fired by a guy who knows NOTHING about pro basketball…very funny ! So now D—–Ron has really stepped it up since he’s gotten his way, right??…..LOL Maybe if they let him come down the court(slowly)– and mill around(slowly) and shoot when he wants, he can be successful??….LOL But that is Not how you win in this league and they are lucky Brooke HAS stepped up His game , otherwise the would be slipping out of playoff contention…… Not to mention that overpaid sometimes scorer J Johnson….now that is the Second time a team has Overpaid this guy……. some just never learn!!

    • FastBreak says:

      Deron’s defense isn’t exactly stellar right now either. Injury or not, he is no longer in the conversation for one of the best PG’s, at least for this year. And Calderon could put up those offensive numbers if you built a team around him.

    • Please says:

      “Older mainstays like Steve Nash and Tony Parker belong in the conversation but are rarely included in conversations about the future of the position for obvious reasons.”

      TELL ME WHAT ARE THE REASONS???

      I mean, come on, man! OK Nash is old, what about TP? Is the main “reason” that TP is not american? Can’t be popular ??? Come on!!! Tony Parker proved you ALL last year, he’s top 3 PG in the league, and he proved that he deserves to be in the FIRST all NBA team, when Spurs cknocked out Clippers with POPULAR Chris Paul in the play-offs.

      “”When there is talk about the best point guards, sometimes they don’t talk about me. But that’s not my main motivation, They can talk about Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Deron Williams and Chris Paul. I still have the most rings.”

      TONY PARKER

  14. Deron is not playing up to the contract that he signed. Kind of like Joe Johnson. At the moment both of those guys make Lopez look extremely underpaid. Deron and Johnson need to get together and have a seance to bring back both their games that got them those huge contracts.

    • RaZa says:

      thats real talk when u say DWill and JJ makin Lopez look underpaid ….its frustrating watching these games cuz i know Williams is better than this i truely hope he has a nice long rest this week an improves a bit tho honestly i dont even care about his pts just get the damn asts up he needs to be avg ATLEAST 10 asts which would prolly bring JJ back to avg 20+ppg LIKE HE SHOULD BE oh an they need to stop giving Lopez the ball above the FT line….wtf he gonna do from out there? not a God damn thing!

  15. Kamote says:

    marbury was once one of the top PGs, and so was steve francis…

  16. johnny says:

    Williams is better then rondo
    and i think williams is even better then chris paul in olympic basketball
    if you watched olympic games williams is a threat
    right now hes facing alot of changes and injuries but hel bounce back
    rondo is nice and better at this moment but wait til williams recover

  17. lol says:

    stars come and go and i guess deron williams is one of the stars to go unless he changes his playing style but its already too late the guy is 28 years what hes going to do?

    • Adamant says:

      At 28, in a new club, I’d say he has tons of time left.

    • Jimbo says:

      As a Jazz fan I saw Deron’s downfall come in Utah during his last seaon there. He was playing sluggish, disinterested, ornery. He could not keep up with faster guards like Westbrook, Rose, Wall, Lawson, and Evans they would all seem to blow by him. I think D-Will had about 3-4 Great years and from here on out I think we might see sparks of greatness but nothing near his All-Star years. I bet it’s safe to say he won’t be an All-Star again or play at that level, especially with the rise of many other PG’s in the league.

      • TrueNBAFan says:

        Sluggish, disinterested, and ornery? So him having his best season ever, was him being sluggish, disinterested, and ornery? In his last season for the Jazz he was averaging 21 ppg, 10 apg, 4 rpg, which shooting 46% from the field, 35% from beyond the arc, and 85% from the stripe… he never played that well the seasons before… how did you see his downfall coming when he was playing better then he ever had? lol

  18. coachtoronto says:

    All the more reason I think it’s sad, in hindsight, that Rondo was “snubbed” from USAB. He should have been in the Olympics with a Gold medal. Not Williams. If you look at last year’s performance, Rondo was far better in a lot of categories, including the intangibles. Williams somehow made friends that got him back on that squad.

    Don’t argue that behavior kept Rondo out. Yes he’s done some stuff – but a coach can curb that and make a player “understand” a better way. Williams has his fair share of stuff that he’s done – including, but not limited to him being the catalyst that ousted two coaches (one before the London games and one after).

    He’s obviously very good. No doubt. But Rondo got snubbed and, in my opinion, better.

    • ct in canada says:

      Its hard to argue with the methods employed and the results coach K has gotten the last few Olympic cycles. Whatever reason Rondo didn’t make the team, he still sulked and quit while coach K and the Dream Team rolled on to a 2nd consecutive gold.

      • thedoc says:

        Actually Rondos behavior did keep him out of the Olympics. In true “Rondo Fashion” he went on record saying that he didn’t want to be in the Olympics, because he enjoys his summers off,and he wouldn’t ever play in the Olympics unless the paid him.

  19. Drazen says:

    And once again Tony Parker is left out of the conversation, but the guy plays at such a high level, at the game versus brooklyn it was unbelieavable

    • ginobili says:

      TONY PARKER? What more does he have to do? He’s putting up MVP numbers and has done it without Timmy or Manu recently. He’s putting up numbers we haven’t seen since Larry Bird.

      • Adamant says:

        SO underrated/underappreciated by anyone outside of SA’s band wagon. Having one of the best seasons of his career, so why exactly is he left out of this conversation for obvious reasons? Because he makes everyone other PG right now look like a ball-hogging joke? I guess youre right then. He SHOULD be left out of the conversation…

      • TrueNBAFan says:

        20.7 ppg, 7.7 apg, and 3.0 rpg… impressive numbers, but he’s left out of the discussion because he’s not young, and those numbers are gloriously impressive.

      • TrueNBAFan says:

        20.7 ppg, 7.7 apg, and 3.0 rpg… impressive numbers, but he’s left out of the discussion because he’s not young, and those numbers aren’t gloriously impressive.

    • Jimbo says:

      I think what Sekou was trying to say was that in years past (3-4 years ago) Parker was overlooked as “the PG of the future” for obvious reasons. The obvious reasons being he is several years older than the other pg’s mentioned. Beyond that, yes, he has been overlooked these past 2 years. 3-4 years ago he wasn’t quite putting up these same numbers, and most of us were overlooking Parker, unaware that he would all of the sudden take a huge forward leap in his carreer. As of right now Parker is slightly overlooked, but the San Antonio Spurs as a whole have been overlooked most of this past decade. Why? I don’t know, small market, old news..???