Deron Williams: Nets tenure doomed by inconsistency
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving aren’t the first stars to join the Nets’ organization, and it’s not even guaranteed that star acquisitions will lead Brooklyn to a championship or long playoff runs.
Just ask Deron Williams.
The former point guard was considered a franchise linchpin when he was acquired by the Nets during the 2010-11 season, when he was 27 years old. That trade came following 5 ¹/₂ successful seasons with the Utah Jazz before things turned sour between Williams and veteran coach Jerry Sloan, who resigned during the season.
Williams — who was with the Nets when they moved to Brooklyn — said he loved the friendships with teammates and his time with the team, but added there wasn’t a lot of consistency in the organization during his tenure, a time when Mikhail Prokhorov had just become the owner of the team.
“It was tough from a basketball standpoint,” Williams said on the “Knuckleheads” podcast via the Players’ Tribune. “For me, looking back, I played for four coaches in [4 ¹/₂] years. As a point guard, you’re talking about a point guard who is coming from this system [with the Jazz], that’s run perfectly, that’s coached perfectly, and then, now I’m learning a new offense with new players every single year. And there was just no consistency. Hard to get into a rhythm.”
Williams — who retired from the NBA after the 2017 season — helped lead the Nets to three playoff appearances, but more was expected from the All-Star. Ankle problems, however, started to derail his career and his time in Brooklyn.
“I started getting injured,” Williams said. “I started losing confidence. And so it started eating at me.
“I started losing my love for the game when I was there because it was just like, everything was going wrong.”
Williams signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks after accepting a buyout from the Nets following the 2014-15 season. He played one season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the final one of his 12-year career.
The three-time All-Star, who also won gold medals with the U.S. in 2008 and 2012, had career averages of 16.3 points, 18.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 845 career games.