UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Nets point guard Deron Williams wasn’t in the running for MVP last season.
New coach Jason Kidd wants that to change in 2013-14.
“I think for him it’s a great challenge. He needs to get back into the conversation,” Kidd said Friday at Nassau Coliseum. “And as a coach ... I think it’s our responsibility to make sure he gets back in the conversation. There’s a lot of great players in this league, so if you can be part of that conversation, you’re doing something right.”
Williams struggled with injuries and weight problems through the first 50 games last season, but became a different player after getting treatment during the All-Star break. He ended up averaging 18.9 points and 7.7 assists, shooting 44 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from 3-point range.
Asked what he believes are the reasons Williams fell out of the MVP chatter, Kidd said: “I don’t know if it was just health. You also have to look at the point guard position. There’s a lot of talented point guards. Depth of guys getting better and probably injuries for him is probably the biggest thing, so for us, if we can keep him healthy and keep him going, hopefully he’s in that conversation.”
ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard called Williams a dark horse for MVP in his latest Insider piece. The belief is that if he’s healthy, Williams will dominate with the weapons -- Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett -- he has around him.
“I still think D-Will is one of top three point guards in this league,” a Western Conference executive told Broussard. “I think he was worn out from playing in the Olympics last year. That’s a lot tougher on the smaller guys than on the big guys. So I think D-Will will have a bounce-back year. And if the Nets are as good as they claim they’ll be, he’s got to be in the MVP conversation.”