Over the past few seasons Deron Williams’ play has taken a huge hit. His field goal percentage and PER have dropped substantially. Most people attribute this to Williams’ recent injury history, but even Williams has said that isn’t the case.
Williams has said that he’s just not comfortable in the offense before and its showed ever since he’s put on the Nets uniform. Williams hasn’t shot over 41% in a Nets uniform before–that’s a huge difference from a hovering around 50% in Utah.
Yesterday Avery Johnson was fired by the Brooklyn Nets. Other than losing 10 of their last 13 games, Williams was likely another reason for being fired. He wasn’t comfortable in Johnson’s offensive system. Brian Lewis of the New York Post goes more in depth.
When asked if he had become a better player than he was in Utah, Williams responded with this.
“No,’’ Williams said. “I was injured the first year. I really had injuries I was dealing with the whole time. And didn’t have the talent around me that I did there. And that system [in Utah] was a great system for my style of play. I’m a system player. I loved Coach [Jerry] Sloan’s system. I loved the offense there. We could’ve been a really good team, we just weren’t that good defensively as a group.’’
Williams’ numbers do show a general discomfort, as I said before. He went from being what was the best to a goat for another coaches firing. That isn’t fair, but that’s just the way it is. Ethan Sherwood Strauss showed how Williams numbers have evolved in a post earlier this month.
Williams’ shot charts in the article indicate that he’s taking only 30% of his shots at the rim this season as opposed the 43% of shots that he took at the rim in Utah. He’s taking more shots from beyond the arch and more long twos and that’s causing him to be more inaccurate.
You may also notice that in 2007-2008, three-point attempts only added up to 18.2% of Williams’ total shot amount. In 2012-2013, a whopping 38.7% of Deron’s shots are coming from distance. Considering that Deron Williams hit .395 of his three point tries in 2007-2008 (he’s now hitting .268 from deep), less could be more for Williams.
Wiliams’ assist numbers haven’t really faltered over the last few years. His assist percentage this season is 38% and that hovers right around his career average of 42%. He’s still a great shot creator for others, its the one’s for himself that he’s struggling with.
The evidence shows that the offensive system isn’t catering to Deron’s greatest strength–his scoring. I know that you’re saying that a star player should be able to perform at a star level in any environment, but we’ve seen this before. A coach has to create an environment to help their star player be a catalyst.
We’ve seen it in this season, even. In Los Angeles, Mike Brown was fired as the Lakers coach for not catering to Kobe Bryant’s strengths. It wasn’t in the best interest of the team or Bryant, and Nash for that matter, to keep playing in that system. That’s the key.
If Avery Johnson was fired because of Deron Williams, it wasn’t because he didn’t want him to coach anymore. Its because his system was counterproductive to what Williams should’ve been doing. We’ll see what the Nets implement now that Johnson is out of the picture.