Career averages of 7.8 PPG and 2.6 APG don’t do any justice to CJ Watson and how phenomenal of a player he is. However, in a star-studded league like today’s, it’s not uncommon to see great role players like Watson lack statistically. Especially at the guard position, starters often dominate the minutes and it’s a struggle for backups to make a name for themselves. Not to mention, it doesn’t really help when you’re the backup for an MVP.
Unknown for a fairly large portion of his NBA career, Watson emerged to the spotlight when Derrick Rose went down with an injury last year. Prior to Rose’s absence, Watson averaged 8 points and 3.5 assists off the bench, which is respectable, but as I mentioned before, nowhere near what Watson was capable of. As a starter when Rose was out, Watson averaged 11.3 points and 4.6 assists a game, but more importantly, won 17 out of his 25 games. Not only does this show that CJ Watson is a winner, but also that he can be a leader if called upon.
With that in mind, Brooklyn Nets fans, as well as the Nets’ coaching staff, should fell safe in giving Deron Williams rest when needed. Knowing that CJ Watson not only knows how to run a team, but how to run a team well, is definitely reassuring. Unlike last year, where the Nets had to take their chances on players like Armon Johnson and Sundiata Gaines when D-Will sat out, the Nets have a proven, talented backup in CJ Watson. This way, Deron Williams will not overtire himself like he did at some points during the season last year, when Williams played 37 minutes a game.
Not only will Watson provide more flexibility to Deron Williams, but he could also slide over to shooting guard and relieve some of their playing time. Obviously, this would not happen often, as the Nets have two very talented shooting guards in Joe Johnson and Marshon Brooks. However, if one player were to be injured or out of action for just one game, Watson would be an ideal replacement. Although Watson is undersized at 6’2”, his playing style is that of a shooting guards. Some may say that Watson could be described as “a 2 guard stuck in a 1’s body.” An extremely deadly shooter from three point range (42% on his career) and great at getting to the basket, it’s pretty obvious that Watson is a natural scorer. With this knack for scoring, Watson would serve as an adequate fit at shooting guard if needed.
All in all, Watson’s leadership and scoring will be most valued from him. Signing to a petite $992,680 salary for the upcoming season, CJ Watson, besides Joe Johnson, may have been the Nets’ best acquisition of the offseason.