Whos' at fault here? Is it Deron Williams for not being the politically correct leader? Is it the offense, Avery Johnson, or just all of the above?
The Nets record for November was eleven and four. They were riding the high during that streak and everything looked good for them. Williams wasn't playing great but the team was playing significantly better versus their play in the month of December. When Brook Lopez injured his foot again, the Nets lost five consecutive games. Most of the games were against teams with winning records but that doesn't warrant an excuse. The cliche phrase " defense wins championships" remains to be evident. Avery Johnson preaches defense but the team does not look like their listening. The Nets have a record of three and eight when they allow opponents to score a hundred points or more. Their record when scoring a hundred points or more stands at five and two. For the season, they are allowing ninety-three points on defense. The main problem is their pick-n-roll coverage. Teams realize that Brook Lopez is ridiculously slow, so they do not fear him even though he averages 2.4 blocks a game. Opponents will attack and have guys open either under the rim or over the three point line. The New York Knicks have done a commendable job at this because Tyson Chandler is shooting seventy-two percent from the field in three of the games against the Nets. Most of his shots are dunks but when a guy has limitations and is able to shoot that high from the field, something is definitely wrong. Everyone wants to talk about the offense but no one is bringing this up. Most of the news on the Nets in the last weeks have been about Deron Williams and his disapproval of the offense. His comments were completely honest and to the most part right. Jerry Sloan's offense produced hall of fame players so their shouldn't be an argument. Avery Johnson has been working on the offense though, trying to emulate The Utah Jazz's offense. The problem is, the Nets do not have the same players. The screens they set are not effective and they do not consistently run them. Even the Nets players agree with Williams somewhat.
Joe Johnson on the struggles:
"No, it works," Johnson said about the system. "It works in the first half, so it should work in the second half. It's not about the offense. It's about us not running our sets." "We just have a tendency to play one on one basketball, and it's not going to work."Gerald Wallace:
"At this point in the season, it's all mental. It has nothing to do with physical. You've got to execute your plays offensively and defensively and stay in tune to what you are doing as a team."The players are backing up Deron Williams as they should, since he is the key to the Nets success. But Williams has a bad reputation as of now. A former teammate stated that he quited on his team last year, he was accused of getting Jerry Sloan fired, and now the news is on the controversial statements made by him. It is so controversial that, Star-Ledger Columnist Dave D'Alessandro called Williams a "diva" and also pointed out some things.
Whether the point guard likes it or not is irrelevant. You make it work. You lead. And when you miss game-winning shots against the Bulls and Knicks, with no defender in the same ZIP code, you blame yourself — period.
Of course, the lack of accountability is also management’s fault. We recall those stories about you finishing practice and heading up to Billy King’s office to plop yourself on the couch — where even the new boss chuckled along when you called yourself “the assistant GM.” Haw!His statements are more than aggressive but he is definitely on point. Williams has to adjust, (which he has pointed out), but he needs to just play and stop talking. He is the captain of this team and needs to hold himself accountable. Avery Johnson is not the problem. He may make some questionable decisions but he is only a part if anything. The team will live and die with Deron Williams and their still is more than enough basketball left to see what will happen. On the bright side, the Nets do have a winning record to this point. Last year around this time, the Nets were clearly a less talented team so it will be interesting to see how Deron Williams and the Nets respond to the early criticism. Williams is an top three point guard and Johnson is a good coach. Hopefully no one is fired or traded, and Brooklyn starts living up to the hype.