Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/6/13
As Deron Williams goes, so goes the Nets’ five-threat offense. There is no great mystery there, no debate. Kevin Garnett is not paid to dribble downcourt, penetrate and distribute. And while Brook Lopez proved Tuesday night to be an impossible matchup for the Jazz, somebody still had to get him the ball in the right place, strolling through the paint. The numbers were clear throughout the night, as the Nets blew away Utah, 104-88, as Jason Kidd presided over a coaching victory for the first time and Williams finally beat his old team. With Williams in the game, propelling the A-team, Brooklyn was plus-21 in 24 minutes. Without him on the floor, the Nets were minus-four. Williams dashed, he darted, he spun. “Sharing the ball, getting everyone involved, this is an equal opportunity team,” he said. “It does feel good to finally beat ’em.” This was all a very good, important sight. In the Nets’ first three games, Williams had not been himself — not even the Deron Williams of last season, who wasn’t the Deron Williams of Utah. Trying to find his stamina, courage and inspiration, Williams was averaging just 36% shooting and eight points per game while playing 25.3 minutes. None of those numbers was adequate, and Williams knew that more than anyone. “Hopefully I’m close,” Williams said. “I just think it’s a matter of getting my legs under me. I haven’t done anything for six months. I’ve been pretty much just limited to jogging. That just happened a couple weeks ago. So I’m just trying to get there and get my confidence back in my legs and then I’ll be ready.” Regardless of the official line on this, the Nets were surely concerned about Williams, who is now 29 years old, slowed by a sore ankle. With the Jazz in Brooklyn, it was easy for everyone to remember those extraordinary years Williams posted in Salt Lake City. During his final season there in 2010-2011, before he was traded to the Nets in February, Williams was averaging 21.3 points on 45.8% shooting, along with 9.7 assists. “I’ve seen him make play after play for himself,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin told the Salt Lake Tribune this week. “He can get other guys involved, too. He can attack. He can come off and hit a three. He can post up a guy. A guy with that much talent, when he gets in the flow, everybody feeds off of it. He’s the kind of talent that can control the whole game.” Nobody expects him to score as much now, when he is playing next to four other starters capable of 20-point games. But that shooting percentage has been way off for a while, even with so many teammates to provide him with options and space. Given the luxury of such a laugher, Kidd spent much of the last quarter talking to Williams, going over situations on the court. “It’s a process,” Kidd said. “This is training camp for him. He’s not playing 30 minutes. There’ll be a point in the season he can get there.”
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