How does a player view themselves when they are labeled a coach and system-killer? This title has followed Deron Williams ever since the Utah Jazz let Jerry Sloan walk out the door amid rumors that he couldn’t get along with the All-Star point guard. Williams was sent to the Nets, and the stigma followed him there as he clashed with former player-turned-coach Avery Johnson.
Johnson was let go amid rumors of a rift between him and Williams as well, and everyone was beginning to wonder if there was a coach that he could get along with.
Williams is not a bad guy — he just want to win badly, and has no problem voicing his opinion whether he is right or wrong. I don’t know what it’s like to have to carry a franchise on your shoulders night after night and year after year. It has to be a strain to have to take the blame for every loss, yet be expected to share the joys of winning.
His relationship with Jason Kidd didn’t get off to the best of starts, especially when Kidd called out his team for quitting. Williams blasted back through the media but nothing else was made of it.
Williams has missed almost half the season dealing with nagging ankle injuries, but when he is on the court, the Brooklyn Nets are a better team. After his latest visit to the injured list, the Nets found a way to win some games. Watching his team go through the fire without him has to humble even the grumpiest of players. Once he came back, he went to Kidd and told him he wanted to come off the bench because he didn’t want to mess up their winning chemistry.
Kidd is no fool, and neither is Williams, so he will take the starting role back from Shaun Livingston at some point. However, he is doing what a leader is supposed to do for now. Fans can all sit back and call him all types of names and pass judgement on the guy, but what he is doing for the morale of his teammates doesn’t seem to fit the moniker of a coach or system-killer, does it?
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