All the way back on February 23, 2011, the then New Jersey Nets took what was thought to be a huge step in the right direction when they acquired star point guard Deron Williams. The excitement the fans had for Williams' arrival in New Jersey was on as high of a level possible. The Nets failed to bring in Carmelo Anthony, but they answered back with this high caliber move.
The problem is this: the Nets didn't get the real D-Will in that trade. The real D-Will could make his teammates better in every aspect of the game. The real D-Will could put up 20 and dish out 10+ assists on any given night.
That D-Will never made it to Newark, New Jersey. Instead, the Nets got a volume scoring point guard who always seemed to have an excuse for his bad nights (my personal favorite being the "bad sight lines" of the Prudential Center). His first full season in a Nets uniform was filled with ups and downs. He gets somewhat of a pass because Brook Lopez played in just five games that year, but I'm not giving him a pass. His inability to stay healthy, his terrible shooting that never seemed to stop, and his terrible leadership abilities put a huge dent in the Nets' organization. He averaged 21 points per game that year, but did it while shooting 40.7 percent from the field. His assists per game average of 8.7 was also his lowest since his rookie year.
Everything was going to get better, though. Well... That's what we thought. Deron was just inked to a new 5-year, $98M deal, the maximum he could receive. The Nets officially completed a move to Brooklyn. Billy King traded the New Jersey scrubs for an established scorer in Joe Johnson, signed hard-nosed defender Gerald Wallace to a four year deal, and brought back Brook Lopez. This was the kind of team that a guy like Deron Williams needed in order to play at a superstar level again. But once again, Deron didn't do his thing.
He continued getting pass after pass from the New York media because he was playing injured. And all that did was allow him to continue playing like a scrub at the cost of the team. The Brooklyn Nets were built for Deron Williams to have help. He no longer had to be the number one scoring option, but he still didn't make good on his weapons around him. His assists per game, once again, were his lowest since his rookie season at just 7.7. The only positive improvement was his field goal percentage, which went up to 44 percent. Deron did step up individually in the playoffs, but the rest of the team didn't as Chicago took down the Nets in seven games.
If any year was going to be Deron's year to get back to being a star, the 2013-14 season was it. The bloated contracts of Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries were sent to Boston, along with three first round picks, in exchange for some championship experience in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. The Nets have done anything in their power to give Deron Williams a team that he can play with and be successful with, but Williams has yet to capitalize.
Jason Kidd said before the season that he wants to see Deron back to averaging 20 points and 10 assists, and even executives from around the league were saying he would be an MVP candidate. Looking back on it now, it's probably one of the funniest things I've ever heard. Deron was nothing near an MVP this year, He could even be considered the LEAST valuable player. As for Kidd's 20 points and 10 assists theory, Deron had just five double-doubles all season. FIVE. He averaged 14 points and six assists this season. This is the guy that a team is being built around. He failed to score at least 1,000 points in a season for the first time since (stop me if you heard this before) his rookie season. He averaged just 11 shots per game. His lowest since... Never mind.
Now that the Nets are in the playoffs, and in the second round for the first time since 2007, Deron Williams is just as inconsistent as ever. He has failed to step up when the team needs their face of the franchise the most. In last night's game two against the Miami Heat, the $98M man scored ZERO points on 0/9 shooting, helping the Nets fall behind 2-0 in the series. After putting up 17 points on 7-10 shooting in game one, Deron backs it up with a game that sums up his entire tenure with the Nets.
I can only draw one conclusion from the disappearance of D-Will since the trade from Utah. Deron Williams is far too weak minded to play in a market like New York. When the pressure reaches its highest, Deron Williams disappears. When it doesn't matter, you'll see shades of Utah D-Will, but when it does matter all you see is a bum. Deron simply can't handle the pressure of playing in the New York market for a team with championship aspirations. Deron Williams is not a superstar, he's not a player that is a "face of the franchise," and he's not made for New York. He is, however, the real Mr. Unreliable.