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Jason Kidd: Deron Williams’ shooting is the problem, not the Nets’ system

Jason Kidd and Deron Williams both know what it’s like to play for Avery Johnson, and they both understand how it feels to not be fully comfortable playing for him. Earlier this week, Williams said he has not been the same player since joining the Brooklyn Nets and that he was far more comfortable in Jerry Sloan’s system with the Utah Jazz. Kidd, who had some disagreements with Johnson when he was with the Dallas Mavericks, said the offensive system isn’t the issue.

Simply put, Kidd feels that Williams has not been an effective enough shooter.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the coach,” Kidd said Thursday according to the NY Daily News. “I think it’s just a matter of getting comfortable making shots. Also, he has new teammates. He’s got to get used to a new crew. It’s always a growing period.

“He’s a grownup. He’ll figure it out. All things don’t go well right away sometimes. He’s just going through a struggle shooting the ball, but he’s one of the best at what he does, so he’ll work through it.”

A look at the numbers would tell you Kidd is right, and Deron has admitted several times that he has not shot well enough. Williams shot 43.9% from the field last season — the lowest since his rookie year — and is down to 39.6% so far this season. He’s hitting only 29.4% of his shots from beyond the arc, which is a career low.

Williams’ struggles have likely been caused by a combination of things, but his poor shooting is certainly what sticks out the most. A player who simply isn’t knocking down shots isn’t going to be comfortable in any system.

Deron Williams says he hasn’t been the same player since leaving the Jazz

Deron Williams has played in 90 games since joining the Brooklyn Nets in February of 2011, but he says he still isn’t totally settled in. For starters, he has been dealing with nagging injuries since the Utah Jazz shipped him across the country. In addition, Williams says he is not nearly as comfortable in Brooklyn’s offense as he was in Utah’s.

“I’ve really had injuries I’ve been dealing with the whole time,” Williams said Monday according to the NY Daily News. “I didn’t have the talent around me I did there. Their system was a great system for my style of play. I am a system player. I loved coach (Jerry) Sloan’s system there, I loved the offense there.”

Williams averaged 21 points per game last season with the Nets — the second-highest total of his career. However, his assist numbers have been just over 8.0 per game whereas they were consistently around 10.0 per game in Utah. He indicated the problem he has had adjusting could be due to the fact that Avery Johnson’s offense is less structured than he’s used to.

“I grew up in high school, my coach wasn’t one of those guys who would just throw out the ball and let us play,” Williams said. “We were a system team. We had a staple of plays that we relied on. We were good at execution. In college (at Illinois), we ran the motion offense. A lot of cutting, a lot passing, a lot of screening, a lot of extra passes. I’m used to just movement. So I’m still trying to adjust. It’s been an adjustment for me.”

Deron is only 28 years old and recently signed a five-year extension with Brooklyn, so he has plenty of time to find his comfort zone. But he knows big things are expected of the Nets in a new city, new arena and with new superstars like Joe Johnson. Williams is expected to be the glue that holds the whole thing together, so it would be in his best interest to learn quickly.

Dwight Howard: If Deron Williams is mad at me for not going to the Nets, so be it

Deron Williams may have been more anxious than any other player or coach in the NBA during the whole Dwight Howard saga that took place last season. Williams wanted to play alongside a superstar, which is why he openly stated he was hoping Howard would come to the Brooklyn Nets and also why he strongly considered signing with the Dallas Mavericks. When all was said and done, he decided to re-sign with the Nets anyway.

Instead of forcing his way to Brooklyn or waiting to become a free agent, Howard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Rumor has it the move has strained the relationship between Howard and Williams, but Howard doesn’t seem to care.

“It’s my life so if he’s upset because I made a decision for me, so be it,” Howard said according to the NY Daily News. “If he doesn’t want to be friends because I’m on another team, then so be it. There’s no need to smooth things over.”

Williams and Howard used to meet up for dinner anytime they were in the same town, but Deron said he has not spoken to Dwight recently. The Lakers host the Nets on Tuesday and it seems unlikely that the two stars will be breaking any break together in Hollywood.

“I’m here now in L.A. there’s no need to talk about what could have happened. I’m happy with being here in L.A.,” Howard said. “The fans have always been great here. Now that I’m on the team the fans, from Day 1, they’ve just been unbelievable to me and to this team.

“It really doesn’t matter at this point (why I demanded a trade to Brooklyn). There’s no need to talk about the past. I’m happy being a Laker. This is the best situation for me and what I need to move forward.”

We hear time and time again that professional sports are a business, so you would think Williams would accept that and move forward. If not, it doesn’t seem like Howard is going to lose any sleep.

Mark Cuban says Deron Williams’ reason for not signing with the Mavs makes Nets front office look bad

For a while it looked like Deron Williams could sign with the Mavericks this past offseason, but he wound up back with the Nets. Earlier this week, Deron explained that Mark Cuban’s absence from his free agent meeting with Dallas helped him choose to re-sign with Brooklyn. When asked about Williams’ comments, Cuban couldn’t resist responding with a little mind game.

“I’m a big D-Will fan, but I’m kind of surprised that he would throw his front office under the bus like that by saying that I would make a difference,’’ Cuban said according to the Dallas Morning News. “I would have expected him to say – like I’d expect one of our guys to say – ‘Hey I’m so thrilled with the front office and the moves we made and our team that it wouldn’t have mattered what he did.’

“That’s what I expect our guys to say and that’s the way I feel about our team. Again, I’m a big D-Will fan, but it’s not about individual players, it’s about building a team. And I really think we put together a good team for the current team and the future.”

Cuban added that he is “flattered” his presence could have affected Deron’s decision, but he made his point loud and clear. While the Mavs owner is simply defending himself for filming a reality TV show instead of meeting with a superstar who is possibly interested in signing with the team, Cuban makes a good point. Williams should be saying he chose the Nets because that’s where he wanted to be, not because Cuban blew him off.

Deron Williams: Mark Cuban missing free agent meeting helped me choose Nets

Deron Williams said on Monday that Mark Cuban missing their free agent meeting helped him choose the Nets over the Mavericks.

Williams was the top point guard on the market and considered the top free agent available over the summer. He was said to be considering signing with the Mavericks or remaining with the Nets. He ultimately chose to stay with the Nets, and he says now that Cuban missing their meeting and sending Mavericks representatives instead affected his choice.

“I think (Cuban) would have been able to answer a lot of the questions me and my agent have for him that really didn’t get answered that day pertaining to the future,” Williams said according to the New York Daily News. “And I think if he was there he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better. It maybe would have helped me.

“(I wanted to hear about) the direction of the future of the team, other than Dirk — players they were thinking about. Everything was basically just about their track record, trust their track record, which is, you know, I can honor that, because they do have a good track record, but it’s not enough for me, especially when (Nets GM) Billy (King) was updating me daily.”

Williams also compared the situation to when he was coming out of high school and considering his college options. He says he dropped Maryland as one of his finalists because coach Gary Williams was not going to be there for his visit.

Cuban was filming the TV show “Shark Tank” in Los Angeles at the time and couldn’t make the meeting.

“Obviously, I had a conflict, but I was texting him. I was texting him. We were going back and forth quite a bit,” he said at the time.

Could Cuban have made a difference had he attended the meeting?

“Maybe,” he responded. “You know, because I always think I can close the sale.”

Cuban has indicated since then that he’s happy with the team despite failing to sign Williams and trade for Dwight Howard. The Nets have built up their roster around Williams. Maybe things worked out well for all parties.

Deron Williams didn’t like teammates laughing after losses last season

The Nets experienced a major turnaround over the offseason. Not only did they change locations, jerseys, and color schemes, but they also overhauled their roster and appear ready to compete for a top playoff spot. All the changes are a relief for All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who was so frustrated with the team’s struggles last season he had to be called out by coach Avery Johnson for his behavior.

Johnson didn’t like the negative body language Williams displayed on the court during the Nets’ 22-44 showing last season which tied them for the fifth-worst record in the league. Williams believes he had good reason for acting the way he did.

“It was hard. I’ve never been in that position before,” Williams told reporters Tuesday, according to ESPN New York. “So at times, I’ve showed frustration, but I think anybody would have. I think no matter who it is, if you were there every day and you saw what was going on in the locker room you’d be pissed off too sometimes. You’re getting your asses kicked and then you’re in the locker room laughing about the game afterwards.

“I don’t think that stuff is funny. That’s what we had to deal with last year. But I don’t think we’re going to deal with it this year, because just talking to the guys, that’s not what we’re about. We’re talking about not losing two games in a row. We were just trying to fight to win two games in a row last year.”

Williams’ frustration with the team last year was evident as early as last December when he said the Nets didn’t have many starters on their team.

While Williams’ behavior was not advisable, it certainly was understandable. And the good news for everyone associated with the franchise is that Williams stuck with the team despite being a free agent. His loyalty to the Nets, if you want to call it that, should pay off this season. The Nets will likely be a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.

Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Deron Williams catches Coach K doing yoga before practice (Picture)

Before Twitter came along, US men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski could go through his yoga routine before practice began without being bothered. And if he was bothered, it wasn’t in the form of one of his players tweeting a picture of him doing yoga to more than 200,000 followers.

Deron Williams snapped a picture of Coach K in the child’s pose before practice on Monday and shared it on Twitter.  While Coach K probably would prefer that this part of his day be kept personal, there’s nothing wrong with a middle-aged man doing some yoga. In fact, an organization is even trying to make yoga poses an Olympic event, so perhaps Coach K is practicing and showcasing his skills.

Of the tens of thousands of athletes competing in London, it’s safe to say Team USA is having the most fun with Twitter and social media sites. Kevin Love has tweeted pictures like the one of all of his teammates sleeping during their flight and a few others showcasing how ridiculous everyone looked in their Opening Ceremony outfits. Over the weekend, Kevin Durant got in on the fun by showing us his awkward-looking haircut. And to think the Games are just getting started.