Monday, August 18, 2014
Can Hollins get D-Will back on track?
By Mike Mazzeo
Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King believes point guard Deron Williams, currently recovering from offseason surgery on both ankles, is ready to go physically and mentally.
“He’s out to prove to people that he’s still one of the elite point guards in the league,” King said Monday during an interview on SiriusXM Radio. “And I think that’s gonna benefit us as well.”
Williams, a three-time All-Star, averaged just 14.3 points and 6.1 assists last season.
But King believes new coach Lionel Hollins will be able to get the most out of the 30-year-old veteran. Hollins coached against Williams when Hollins was coaching in Memphis and Williams was playing in Utah.
“[Lionel’s] ready for the challenge to get him back to that level,” King said.
Asked about Hollins' taking over following Jason Kidd’s stunning departure for Milwaukee, King said: “I think he’s ready for the challenge. I’m excited because he’s gonna push these guys. He’s not gonna back off of them.”
• King also reiterated his belief that big man Kevin Garnett will return for a 20th season in the NBA. Garnett, however, has yet to make that decision official. The 38-year-old veteran is under contract for 2014-15 at $12 million.
“I’ve said it every time; we’re expecting Kevin to be back,” King said. “Nothing has wavered. I haven’t wavered in anything I’ve said. He’s planning on being back, and so we expect him when the season starts. I think Doc Rivers said it best: Kevin is probably one of the few guys that when the season is over, he goes away and gets his body mentally and physically recharged. I know he’s been working out sooner this year than he did last year because his body felt better, so we expect him back.”
• King said his best advice to second-year big man Mason Plumlee, currently vying for a spot on Team USA, is to “take advantage of every day you have, whether it’s a practice or a game, because it’s only going to make you better this season.”
King is glad that Plumlee is getting a chance to compete against some of the best players in the league -- as far as improving his scoring and defense is concerned.