Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New Jersey Nets [Print without images]

Friday, December 9, 2011
Williams says practice going very fast

By Mike Mazzeo

Deron Williams called Besiktas’ decision to retire his jersey after he played just 15 games there “silly.”

As silly as that sounds, the Nets would probably send his No. 8 to the rafters right now if it convinced him to stay.

But the 27-year-old point guard has already made his intentions on his future known, and he’s ready to tend to business on the court.

“We want to make the playoffs. That’s our goal,” Williams said Friday after the Nets held their first practice of training camp. “With this roster or whatever roster we have.”

Williams didn’t want to get all the trade rumors involving his buddy Dwight Howard. Instead, he talked at length out how fast practice went.

“It was quick, but it was productive,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to it.

“We were going through things a little fast, but you have to.”

Williams played just 12 games with the Nets last season after he was acquired in a blockbuster trade. The two-time All-Star managed to drop 12.8 assists per contest, but shot just 34.9 percent from the field because he was playing with a broken right shooting wrist.

Williams eventually underwent surgery and found his perimeter game in Turkey.

“I wanted to go over there, stay in shape and get confidence back in my shooting,” Williams said.

Now, it’s just a matter of having a firm grasp of the system by the time the regular season begins on Dec. 26.

“It’s great. We’re putting a lot of new stuff in too,” Williams said. “For me it’s faster than usual, but it definitely helps to start from scratch, start fresh and that’s what we’re doing.”

Williams said the Nets are going to play at a faster tempo than they did last season, when coach Avery Johnson told him to “slow it down” at times.

“Having him on our team and having some continuity, that’s what we’re excited about,” Johnson said.