Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams

Hollins: D-Will confident as ever

September, 29, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Late in Monday’s practice, during 5-on-5 drills, Deron Williams fired a 3-pointer.

As he took the shot, the Brooklyn Nets point guard yelled, “Layup!”

The ball swished through the net.

Sure, it’s only training camp, but D-Will’s confidence was evident.

Noted Nets coach Lionel Hollins, “They all talk crap out there. He’s as confident as he’s ever been. I coached against him, and he always looked confident to me then. It’s practice. These guys all talk crap to each other. It’s part of the game.”

But who is the biggest -- in the words of Hollins -- “crap talker?” Must be Kevin Garnett, right?

“No, Alan Anderson,” Hollins said. “They go out there, they’re competing, they’re getting after each other, they’re pushing each other, and that’s good.”

Garnett, as usual, was extremely vocal during practice. It’s pretty much how he has always been -- encouraging his teammates and leading by example.

“It’s great. It’s fun,” Hollins said. “It’s good to have a guy that’s vocal, that understands a lot, that’s a good leader, and he sets a good example out there that all our young guys can follow. For the young guys just coming into this league, it’s good to be playing with a guy like KG that can set a foundation for them for the rest of your career.”

So how would Hollins sum it up?

“He’s not a coach on the coach. It’s just leadership, doing your job and doing it to a high-intensity level and not making excuses,” he said.

With Andrei Kirilenko out, Alan Anderson got the majority of the time with the other starters, though Hollins was mixing and matching.

Developing chemistry, continuity and a rotation is going to be key as training camp progresses into preseason games and then the regular season.

The Nets had just one practice Monday and will not do two-a-days on Tuesday either, Hollins said.

Burning Q's: How should D-Will play?

September, 10, 2014
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With training camp less than a month away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: What type of player should Deron Williams be?

Deron Williams had the most efficient season of his career in 2007-08, shooting a career-high 50.7 percent from in the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range. He attempted 1,117 field goals: 425 came at the rim (38 percent) and 210 came from downtown (18.8 percent). He dunked 15 times.

During his last two seasons with the Nets, Williams, plagued by ankle injuries, shot 44.4 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3-point range. Over that span, Williams attempted 1,840 field goals: 318 came at the rim (17.3 percent) and 715 came from downtown (38.9 percent). He dunked 10 times.

Clearly, Williams, who turned 30 on June 26, was no longer attacking the way he used to. Injuries likely had something to do with that. In 2013-14, he got to the free-throw line just 3.8 times per 36 minutes -- his lowest average since 2006-07, his second season in the NBA. He also dished out just 6.9 assists per 36 minutes -- his lowest average since his rookie year.

“If you’re injured, you can’t be who you are,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said recently. “You can’t make the same moves or be as explosive as you are, and it’s difficult to go out there and go 100 percent. You’re always worried about what’s going to happen if you push off, stop, change direction, all of those things.”

As Hollins said, it’s on him to put Williams in the best position to be successful. Does that mean playing the point guard off the ball more, something he did really well in Utah? Does it mean more pick-and-rolls than he’s run in the past? We’ll have to wait and see. But, as we’ve said a million times, if Williams is going to turn it around, it all starts with his health.
“I’m feeling good. The ankles are a lot better. We’ve got about 20 days until training camp starts [on Sept. 27],” Williams told FOX5 Wednesday. “Hopefully I’ll be ready for it.”

• The Nets will hold Media Day on Sept. 26, then participate in training camp from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6 at their practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J.

King: No restrictions placed on Lopez

August, 18, 2014
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Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King said during a radio interview Monday that there is currently no plan in place to put any restrictions on center Brook Lopez this season.

However, King said team brass will meet with Lopez and doctors before determining how to proceed.

Lopez had recently been cleared to resume basketball activities as he continues to rehab from foot and ankle surgery.

“We will sit down with him and the doctors and come up with a plan,” King said during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

lastname
Lopez
“Right now, there is no plan to put any restrictions on him, but I think as we do with all players through the preseason -- whether you’re looking at KG [Kevin Garnett] or Deron [Williams], who’s coming off of ankle injuries -- you build them up. You get them ready for the opening day of the season, but you’re really getting them ready for January, February, March and April. So I look at it like climbing a ladder throughout the season when you have veteran players. But I know [new coach] Lionel [Hollins] is gonna push all these guys and challenge them physically. And whatever doctors allow Brook and Deron to do, Lionel is going to push them to that point.”

Lopez, 26, suffered a season-ending right foot injury on Dec. 20 in Philadelphia. He underwent surgery to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Jan. 4. He also underwent a second procedure, called a first metatarsal osteotomy, in which another bone was repositioned in his foot to unload and protect the injured area.

Then on March 3, Lopez had surgery to repair a torn tendon and tighten lateral ligaments in his left ankle. He had been doing some shooting and workout drills before being cleared.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas underwent the osteotomy procedure in February 2001. He returned in December 2001 and averaged just 21.4 minutes while starting only 23 of the 62 games in which he appeared.

The next season, Ilgauskas missed just one game, averaging a career-high 17.2 points in 30 minutes.

Back in late June, King didn’t want to compare Lopez and Ilgauskas. But given Lopez’s importance to the Nets, it’s very plausible that they'll ease him back -- perhaps by limiting his minutes and giving him extra rest -- in order to make sure he’s healthy by the time the playoffs start.

Lopez was averaging a career-high 20.7 points and 56.3 percent shooting in 17 games before he was lost for the season in 2013-14.

“Brook is a big part for us,” King said. “If you look at what Derrick Rose meant to Chicago, I think Brook for us, especially offensively, was a big part of the success we’ve had here. Last year, I think we were able to overcome it and go far because of our depth, but I think missing Brook didn’t allow us to go further, because you needed that post presence, somebody that could get easy baskets.”

King added that Lopez has been working out at the team’s practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., on a daily basis in order to get ready for the 2014-15 campaign.

Starting Five: Building on D-Will, Johnson

May, 7, 2014
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The Brooklyn Nets may have been outclassed in their 107-86 blowout loss to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, but their backcourt was not.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 17 points, while combining to shoot 14-for-21 from the field -- including 6-for-11 from 3-point range.

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Williams hit a pair of buzzer-beating 3-pointers at the end of the second and third quarters to keep the Nets afloat. He was moving well after recently receiving a pair of injections in his left ankle, though he struggled defensively against Mario Chalmers.

Johnson, the team’s best player in Round 1, started to get into a rhythm in the second quarter, when he scored eight points. Johnson also hit back-to-back shots late in the third, but it was too little, too late.

Still, it’s something for the Nets to build on. Brooklyn shot 47.1 percent from the field and went 10-for-24 from 3-point range, but Nets coach Jason Kidd felt like his team’s offense was too stagnant.

While the Heat were driving and making things happen in the paint, the Nets were settling and taking too many shots from the perimeter.

Much had been made of Brooklyn’s regular-season sweep of Miami, but the Heat were far-and-away the better team in Game 1.

The two-time defending champions mean business, and they came out and showed that the playoffs are a whole different animal.

Brooklyn’s lackluster performance has to concern its fanbase. Still, if the Nets could somehow leave Miami with a split, it would allow them to get over their Game 1 debacle.

Question: How concerned are you about the Nets right now? Let us know in the comments section below.

In case you missed it: Perhaps you may want to delete this game from your TiVo. LeBron James played like the best player on the planet, and the Heat dominated from start to finish. Plus, more on the blog.

Stat to know: According to ESPN Stats & Information, James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to hold the Nets to 33.3 percent shooting when guarding their man. The Nets shot 48.8 percent when guarded by any other members of the Heat.

Up next: The Nets will hold practice on Wednesday. They need to make A LOT of adjustments.


MIAMI -- LeBron James backed down Shaun Livingston with ease, missed a short shot before hauling in his own miss and scoring a layup with no resistance.

Less than a minute later in the third, James shifted into his locomotive gear in transition, buried his shoulder into Andray Blatche and scored easily on a drive that was part of a 15-2 Miami run.

James immediately began jawing and pounding his chest.

[+] EnlargeLeBron James
Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty ImagesLeBron James drove home a stern message to the Nets in Game 1: This is big boy basketball now, fellas.
The Nets? They looked like they wanted no part of this fight with the defending champs.

In Tuesday’s Game 1, the best player on the planet reminded the Nets they are no longer in Toronto. And this certainly isn’t the regular season anymore, either.

Joe Johnson may like the way the Nets match up with the Heat. But in Game 1, the Nets were completely outmatched and outclassed by the champs in a 107-86 rout at American Airlines Arena.

Brooklyn didn’t look anything like the only team to ever complete a four-game, regular-season sweep of James. Perhaps that’s because the Heat didn’t look anything like the team the Nets beat in the regular season.

The Nets were assembled with the dual goal of beating the Heat and winning a title. They wanted Miami in the playoffs. And in the series opener, the $200 million team looked softer than ice cream melting in the South Beach sun.

Jason Kidd watched as his team allowed the Heat to score 52 points in the paint and shoot 56.8 percent. In other words, the Nets offered zero resistance inside the paint.

“Our defensive game plan wasn’t executed at all,” said Deron Williams, whose 17 points and 7-of-10 shooting was wasted by poor defense. “We made a lot of defensive mistakes. We allowed them to roam free. I know I got beat on a lot of backdoor cuts.

“It was just kind of the theme of the night: Just layups, layups, layups.”

Seeing the Heat win Game 1 wasn’t surprising. But here's the alarming part: A Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett-led team allowed James and the Heat to do whatever they wanted.

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Pierce said before Game 1 that there was a “dislike” between him and James from all their playoff battles in the past, since the two are chasing the same thing -- a title.

It would have been nice to see a hint of that "dislike" on display inside the paint. Charles Oakley would have been disgusted with the fact there wasn’t a single hard foul delivered on James or Dwyane Wade.

This is the playoffs, and yet James barely broke a sweat, scoring just 22 points and going to the line only two times. Wade had 14 points and didn’t even make a trip to the line.

On the other side, Pierce scored eight points and didn’t play in the fourth, with the game mostly out of reach. Garnett played a minute in the final quarter but finished the game scoreless -- the first time he failed to score a point in 139 playoff games.

The Nets looked every bit like a team that needed a series-winning block to survive the inexperienced Raptors, while the Heat looked like a two-time defending champion coming off an eight-day rest between series.

And the Nets didn’t just run into a rested two-time champion. They ran into a motivated one. How many times did the Heat hear about how the Nets had their number in the regular season, Pierce and Garnett play James harder than anybody else in the postseason, and the Nets present all sorts of matchup problems? Probably about as many times as they scored in the paint in Game 1.

“You got to think about it,” Garnett said. “If you are a competitor, and you keep hearing it over and over, and you got time to rest and sit back and watch the team and continue to hear that, you got to think competitive juices are going to [take over].”

[+] EnlargeNets
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyThe Nets looked lifeless in Tuesday's Game 1 loss.
“I just thought with that being kind of gasoline on the fire, they came out running at home like they were supposed to,” he added.

Now the Nets must respond with some fight or this series will be over a lot quicker than anybody thought. Kidd has to make the necessary adjustments after Erik Spoelstra had his team coming out in attack mode. Garnett and Pierce have to inject some toughness into this team.

“It was a three-point game at the half, fellas,” said Pierce, who like many of the Nets remained confident after the blowout loss. “We are not overreacting. We feel like we still can get a game in this building.”

LeBron bullied the Nets in Game 1. The Nets offered no resistance. Now they must retaliate in Game 2.

Time to find out what Brooklyn is made of.

Truth: Time for a Nets breakout

April, 27, 2014
Apr 27
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Brooklyn Nets have yet to play their best game against the Toronto Raptors. But Paul Pierce thinks it’s going to happen in Game 4.

“Well we know we haven’t played our best game yet,” Pierce said before Sunday’s morning shootaround. “So being on our homecourt, we know we gotta protect our homecourt. I just got a feeling that our best game has yet to come. After three games, we know what they’re doing and they know what we’re doing, so it’s time for us to have a breakout game, and I think this is gonna be it."

The Nets lead the series 2-1. They can move one step away from advancing to the second round on Sunday night.

Brooklyn has shot just 26.5 percent from 3-point range in the series, while getting outrebounded by an average of 44-32. The Nets nearly blew a 15-point lead with five minutes left in Game 3.

“I definitely feel we have another level we can go up to,” Deron Williams said. “Definitely on both ends of the floor. I don’t think we’ve really shot well as a team yet, so it would be nice to have one of those games.”

• Pierce addressed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist remarks, saying he was “real shocked” when he heard the audio recording between Sterling and his girl friend.

“... The NBA is definitely gonna take action,” Pierce said. “I know commissioner Adam Silver is gonna have a hand in it. I don’t think there’s a place in the game for things like this, for owners like this.”

Williams said Sterling’s comments were “unfortunate and in bad taste.”

D-Will 'motivated' to stand out in playoffs

April, 18, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The advanced stats paint a different picture of Deron Williams than the regular metrics.

Throughout the season, the Nets were a much better team with their $98 million point guard on the court, scoring 8.3 more points per 100 possessions, while allowing 3.8 fewer points per 100 possessions.

Still, Williams was not the MVP candidate Nets coach Jason Kidd and former teammate Jason Terry figured he would be in 2013-14.

Hampered by ankle inflammation up until the All-Star break for the second straight season, Williams averaged a pedestrian 14.1 points and 6.3 assists per game.

The Nets may be favored -- at least by most basketball media types, anyway -- heading into their first-round playoff series with the Toronto Raptors. But good luck finding anyone who thinks they have the advantage at point guard.

As one Eastern Conference scout told ESPNNewYork.com, “Kyle Lowry has outplayed Deron Williams throughout the entire season.”

In four games against the Nets, Lowry averaged 22 points and six assists on 50 percent shooting.

“He’s tough,” Williams said, “Very aggressive on both ends of the floor. Definitely the key is to try to contain him. He’s just a shot-maker. He’s making shots right now from everywhere.”

Williams said he’s “motivated” to have a good postseason. He needs to.

The Nets can’t afford for him to have two turnovers in the final minute -- like he did in a 104-103 loss to the Raptors on Jan. 27.

“For [the Nets] to make a run, [Williams] is going to have be very, very good,” ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy said during a conference call, “And the person he’s going up against in the first series could be the most underrated player in the league this season in Kyle Lowry. Kyle Lowry should have been an All-Star this season. He has had a tremendous year. He has the mentality of a pit bull.

“Williams is going to have to be really good.”

In some games this season, he has been. But stretches of greatness have been rare.

Earlier this season, Williams admitted that his confidence wasn’t where it needed to be.

He is far from where he was in 2010, when NBA general managers voted him the best point guard in the league.

“Sometimes you don't know how good you have it,” Van Gundy said. "Williams, in Utah, with [coach] Jerry Sloan, with the combination of the other players they had, were right on the cusp. They were very, very good. He was viewed as that point -- some people thought Chris Paul was the best point guard, some people thought Deron Williams was the best guard. But they were both guys who were looked upon as surefire Hall of Famers.

“This guy was an absolute stud, a handful on both ends of the floor. You don’t realize how big and strong and powerful he is. He wasn’t really good then. He was great. It’s not like he hasn’t played well with the Nets, and at times very well. It’s just that he hasn't been consistently great like he was in Utah like he was every night.”

Said Kidd: “I think Deron has gotten better as the year has gone on, but the biggest thing is his health. He’s gotten healthy, so hopefully that continues through the playoffs.”

Kidd: D-Will 'maybe underappreciated'

March, 30, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd went to bat for Deron Williams again, saying his point guard’s game is “maybe underappreciated.”

“I think his game, as a whole, is maybe underappreciated because he plays both ends. And he’s played hurt. And he hasn’t complained,” Kidd said.

“Publicly, maybe he’s said maybe too much in the sense that he lost confidence, but you can see that he’s playing at a very high level and he plays both ends of the floor, which as a coach and as a teammate you couldn’t ask for more from your point guard.”

Williams had said in early February: “[My confidence] is not at my highest. It’s been tough being in and out of the lineups, missing two weeks here and there [because of ankle injuries], I feel like I get my legs back in shape, get back in shape and then just do it all again.”

After getting the necessary rest and treatment on his ankles, Williams has been a force since the All-Star break. He came into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves averaging 17.4 points, 5.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.7 turnovers per game over that span (20 games), while shooting 47.8 percent from the field -- 37.3 percent from 3-point range.

W2W4: Nets at Mavs

March, 23, 2014
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Jason Kidd will coach his first game in Dallas on Sunday night, when the Brooklyn Nets face the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

Back on the road: The Nets (36-31) went 3-0 on their three-game homestand, and have won 11 straight games at Barclays Center. But now they’re back on the road, and tipping off a three-game trip in Dallas. Brooklyn has an away record of 13-20. The Nets, though, are 9-2 in March. Kidd was drafted by the Mavericks and won his only championship as a player there in 2011. Wonder if Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will fire a couple more shots at Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

D-Will goes home: Deron Williams grew up in suburban Dallas. The Mavericks courted him in the summer of 2012. We know how that went. We know what their owner said. Anyway, Williams should have plenty of family and friends at the game, and he’ll probably be motivated. Last season, Williams had 31 points in Brooklyn’s victory in Dallas. In his previous three games, Williams is averaging 19.7 points and 6.0 assists on 65.6 percent shooting. The Nets are plus-38 with him on the court in that span.

Dirk and the Mavs: The Nets beat the Mavericks by one on Jan. 24. Containing Dirk Nowitzki is going to be key, and it’s going to have to be a team effort. Nowitzki is averaging a team-high 21.5 points per game. Dallas likes to take a lot of 3-pointers, so Brooklyn is going to have to close out and run them off the arc.

D-Will, Nets dunk Suns in Brooklyn blowout

March, 17, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams finally dunked.

Or did he?

Depends on who you ask.

Jason Kidd: “Well, we are trying to debate if that was a dunk. You have to ask him if it was a dunk. He doesn’t want to say it was a dunk.”

Mason Plumlee: “I’m gonna give it to him. He’s gone up about three times now with great courage. But this one, if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. It rattled in, so he didn’t get the flush, but he got a dunk. There’s a difference. He got a dunk.”

Joe Johnson: “It was a dunk, but it wasn’t a dunk you get hype off of.”

[+] EnlargeDeron Williams
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDeron Williams exploded for 28 points Monday night.
Shaun Livingston: “No comment.”

Let the record show that the official box score credited Williams with a “driving dunk” at the 6:33 mark of the fourth quarter on Monday night.

It was his first dunk of the season. It may not make any highlight films -- it wasn’t clean and Williams didn’t get great elevation -- but he did in fact grab the rim with one hand, which constitutes a dunk, his first since May 2, 2013.

And it certainly generated a lot of laughs.

“Coach is supposed to have your back,” Williams said. “I can’t do anything but shake my head, man. He’s supposed to say something like, ‘I’m proud of him’ or ‘It’s a monumental moment.’ He was never a dunker in his day, either.”

Nice to get the first one out of the way, Deron?

“Yeah, especially after that one in Washington,” Williams said of getting denied by the rim on Saturday night.

“That one was pretty bad,” Johnson said.

But seriously, this had to feel good. ...

“I’m definitely feeling better,” said Williams, who had five dunks last season -- three of them in the playoffs.

“Still not jumping that high, as you can tell. But I’m definitely feeling better and more confident every day, and trying to get that confidence to continue.”

Was Williams ever concerned during an injury-plagued campaign that he’d ever get to the point where he could dunk?

“Not really,” he replied. “I had two ankle sprains on each ankle. It’s kinda hard to play basketball with two sprained ankles.”

All joking aside, Williams had one of his best games of the season, scoring 28 points in the Nets’ 108-95 victory over the Phoenix Suns. He shot 11-for-13 from the field and added three assists, three rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes.

The Nets (34-31) have won a season-high nine games at home and moved within three games of the idle Toronto Raptors (37-28) in the Atlantic Division standings.

“He was great tonight,” Kidd said. “I think he’s healthy, and he looked good. He was attacking and setting the table for his teammates. I think he had an overall pretty good game.”

He even had a pretty good dunk, too. That is, if you want to call it a dunk.

Starting Five: Revisiting the D-Will trade

February, 19, 2014
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Feb. 23, 2011: Nets GM Billy King goes into stealth mode and surprises everyone, trading for Jazz point guard Deron Williams. In exchange, King sends Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks (Enes Kanter and Gorgui Deng, who was eventually dealt in a package for Trey Burke) to Utah.

Feb. 19, 2014: Almost three years later, Williams returns to Utah for the third time, looking for his first win as a visitor at EnergySolutions Arena.

In between, obviously, a lot has happened. The Nets have moved to Brooklyn, overhauled their roster and become a playoff team, while the Jazz continue to try and rebuild.

On Monday, Grantland’s Bill Simmons listed Williams’ contract as the fifth-worst in the NBA. Meanwhile, the promising Favors (22) and Kanter (21) are still young and developing, and it remains to be seen just how good they can become.

When the Nets got Williams, it was a big deal. They had just missed out on Carmelo Anthony but struck quickly to land themselves a superstar. Williams was considered a top-10 NBA player at the time, right up there with Chris Paul for top point guard.

King was confident the Nets would be able to re-sign Williams, and they did just that.

Problem is, Williams has been hurt throughout his tenure as a Net, and Brooklyn has yet to win a postseason series with him.

So far, at least in my opinion, it’s tough to say who “won” this trade. And we probably won’t know the answer for a few years.

Question: Three years later, what do you think about the trade?

In case you missed it: Simmons put three Nets in his worst 30 NBA contracts, while the latest rumor had Brooklyn looking into a Marcus Thornton for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans deal.

Stat right? Williams and Andrei Kirilenko have yet to beat their former team at EnergySolutions Arena (both 0-2).

Up next: Nets at Jazz Wednesday night

Nets make Simmons' list for worst contracts

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
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NetsJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesBrook Lopez, left, Deron Williams, right, and Joe Johnson are a waste of money, says Simmons.
Grantland’s Bill Simmons has put out his annual list of the 30 worst contracts in the NBA -- and, once again, the Brooklyn Nets are featured prominently.

Writes Simmons:

21. Brook Lopez: three years, $47.2 million
Total bummer. I don’t feel good about this. But when you’re a big guy coming off multiple foot breaks and you just underwent a risky foot surgery that saved Zydrunas Ilguaskas’s career but failed to save Yao Ming’s career … you’re on the list. Sorry.

5. Deron Williams: four years, $81.59 million


4. Joe Johnson: three years, $69.54 million
The combined points-per-game, PER, salaries and ages of two different backcourt tandems from these past three seasons.

BACKCOURT A
2011-12: 39.8 PPG … 38.7 PER … $34.4 million … 57 years old
2012-13: 35.2 PPG … 34.4 PER … $36.9 million … 59 years old
2013-14: 28.3 PPG … 30.7 PER … $39.9 million … 61 years old

BACKCOURT B
2011-12: 27.2 PPG … 28.9 PER … $4.6 million … 45 years old
2012-13: 33.2 PPG … 35.2 PER … $5.6 million … 47 years old
2013-14: 33.2 PPG … 30.6 PER … $8.6 million … 49 years old

Backcourt A? Deron and Joe.

Backcourt B? Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.

How do you say “Holy schnikes!” in Russian? For the 2015-16 season, Brooklyn already has $62.68 million committed to Johnson, Williams and a might-never-be-the-same Lopez. And Boston has its unprotected first-rounders in 2016 and 2018, with a right to swap in 2017.17 I’m starting to think you can’t run an NBA team while living in Russia. As Mark Felten from Sterling Heights wonders, “At what point do you stop calling Mikhail Prokhorov ‘Mutant Russian Mark Cuban’ and start calling him ‘Mutant Russian Ted Stepien?’”


W2W4: Nets at Pistons

February, 7, 2014
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The Brooklyn Nets will look to make it three wins in a row when they face the Detroit Pistons Friday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

NO KG: Kevin Garnett (rest) will not play. That means someone like Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche or Mason Plumlee is going to be tasked with stopping the likes of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. In going 2-0 against the Nets (22-25) this season, the Pistons (19-29) have combined to win the points in the paint (116-60) and rebounding (87-73) battles pretty handily.

D-WILL: Deron Williams has put together back-to-back solid games: 21 points and six assists against Philadelphia Monday and 16 points and eight assists against San Antonio Wednesday. The Nets need to see that consistency from Williams, who has moved back into the starting lineup.

D-TROIT BASKETBALL: The Pistons have lost two straight and are 3-7 in their last 10. Their seems to be some disharmony going on between the players and their coach. Mo Cheeks and Will Bynum exchanged words during a second-quarter timeout, which led to Bynum being bench. The Drummond, Monroe, Smith frontcourt hasn’t worked out. This would be a great opportunity for Brooklyn, but given that they don’t have Garnett and don’t match up particularly well against Detroit, tough to say who’s going to prevail in this one.

Starting Five: If D-Will starts, who sits?

January, 30, 2014
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Put yourself in Jason Kidd’s tie-less suit.

If you were the coach of the Brooklyn Nets, would you re-insert Deron Williams back into the starting lineup?

And if so, who would you remove?

Based on Kidd’s comments Wednesday, it appears Williams is returning to the starting five sooner rather than later -- perhaps as early as Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Williams has come off the bench the last five games. He’s done a tremendous job of anchoring the team’s second unit -- as the numbers in our previous blog entry show.

But the starting lineup has struggled recently -- and could use a spark, something the three-time All-Star Williams provides.

As a result, Kidd would then have to decide between Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson as to who goes back to a reserve role.

Williams and Livingston have played well together -- the Nets are 8.1 points per 100 possessions better with those two on the court in 124 minutes -- but Brooklyn would no longer have a true point guard who they trust coming off the bench.

And the team is clearly more effective having Williams or Livingston run the offense as opposed to say Anderson, who while doing yeoman’s work in filling in, isn’t a natural floor general.

If I’m Kidd, I’m sticking with a Williams-Livingston backcourt and making sure to manage the rotation so that one of them is on the floor at all times.

That appears to be the best option, at least to me.

Question: If you were Kidd, what would you do?

In case you missed it: Mason Plumlee will be in the Rising Stars Challenge.

That's messed up: St. Anthony legendary coach Bob Hurley’s team is currently without a gym due to water damage, so he asked the Nets to use their facility, and they were willing to oblige. Problem is, the NBA wasn’t, which angered Hurley. Read more here.

Up next: Another practice for the Nets Thursday.

D-Will nearing return to starting lineup

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
5:33
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Could Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams return to the starting lineup Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder?

Nets coach Jason Kidd isn’t ready to say just yet, but it seems like a possibility -- if not then, certainly in the near future.

[+] EnlargeKyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez
AP Photo/Kathy WillensThe Raptors prevailed Monday on D-Will's errant pass in the fourth.
“The second group has been great, when you look at the stats,” Kidd said. “We’ll continue to look at it. At some point, we’re gonna have to get him back with that first group.”

Williams has come off the bench the last five games, averaging 11.2 points and 8.2 assists on 42.6 percent shooting in 30.6 minutes.

He decided to play a reserve role when he came back from injury, so as not to disrupt the chemistry that starters Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had developed playing together.

Williams has done a nice job anchoring the team’s second unit, which features Jason Terry, Mirza Teletovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Andray Blatche.

Since Williams has returned the reserves have outplayed the starters (five games) in terms of efficiency (points per 100 possessions):

Williams-Terry-Teletovic-Kirilenko-Blatche (55 minutes): 134.7 offensive rating, 111.4 defensive rating, 23.3 net rating

Livingston-Anderson-Johnson-Pierce-Garnett (56 minutes): 94.9 offensive rating, 93.1 defensive rating, 1.3 net rating

Said Williams: “We haven’t talked about it, so I’m going with the flow.”

• Williams was asked about his errant inbounds pass Monday night, which led to Patrick Patterson’s game-winning jumper.

“Looking back, I shouldn’t have thrown it to [the backcourt],” Williams said. “If we threw it on the other end, we’d still have time to set up. Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross, they stopped guarding me and starting guarding everyone on the floor, so I could’ve maybe thrown it off one of their legs [out of bounds]. Looking back, there’s always something you would do after the fact. But a lot of the passes were risky, maybe one I could’ve thrown to [Kevin Garnett] that would’ve been high. There’s definitely things I could’ve done looking back.”

• Andrei Kirilenko (sore right calf) did not practice.

“I got some ice on it. I just got a little rest. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Kirilenko said.

He has already missed 26 games this season due to back spasms.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Brook Lopez
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8