The Brooklyn Nets will need to get creative this offseason to improve a team with no draft picks and the highest payroll in the NBA. That creative thinking should send Deron Williams to a different team, and quickly.
Williams has been a disappointment ever since he touched down in Brooklyn following a midseason trade with the Utah Jazz, and its time Brooklyn found a new man to run the floor. The team has yet to move past the second round of the playoffs during his tenure, nor have the Nets managed to finish a season on top of the Atlantic Division.
The reasons for the Nets’ lack of success start with Williams. He is the exact opposite of the player the Nets need at the point guard position. The ball stops whenever it hits his hand. He takes possession, and his first instinct is to shoot, rather than to pass the ball or construct a play for another member of his offense.
The Nets already have a powerful offensive unit stocked with accomplished and efficient scorers in players like Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. Despite this, he’s averaged under seven assists in the past two seasons combined, a far cry from the double-digit APG numbers he posted in Utah. He has also attempted about a shot more per game for the Nets than he did as a member of the Jazz.
He put up more shots for the Nets this year than anyone outside of Joe Johnson, yet sat at 11th in shooting percentage.
Meanwhile, Williams has failed to show any true ability as a leader on or off the court, and has in fact already gotten a successful and well-regarded coach fired in Avery Johnson, in favor of friend and childhood idol Jason Kidd. Add this with reports surfacing today that Williams is unhappy in Brooklyn, and its time this marriage ended.
The Nets have done everything they could to make Williams comfortable and allow him to succeed, and he’s yet to do so. It’s time to move on.
It may be difficult to trade him straight up due to his huge salary, but he could be paired nicely with forward Mirza Teletovic, the Nets’ most powerful trade asset. There would almost certainly be a team interested in the duo — perhaps Brooklyn GM Billy King should look to central division, where Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is rumored to be available.
Regardless of the suitor, the Nets need to move the overpaid and overrated point guard if they hope to truly challenge the Heat for the Eastern Conference crown next season.