NBA Cypher: Is Deron Williams A Coach-Killer?


Deron Williams recently said he was a “system” player, which is interesting, given that he eventually bucked Jerry Sloan’s “system” and reportedly (and we have to stress REPORTEDLY) was the reason Utah canned the Hall of Fame coach. Now, it SEEMS, he might be at the center of the recent Avery Johnson firing. A precipitous deterioration in the star-coach relationship is just the kind of impetus for what seems like a very rash decision on the part of the Nets. Johnson won Eastern Conference coach of the month in October and November, after Brooklyn’s 11-4 start. Now, not more than a month later, you fire the dude because of a 3-11 swoon? I guess you can’t fire Williams, huh? Which is unfortunate, because he’s been shooting like Jerome Williams. Deron could be a coach killer. He could be a franchise-player impostor. So let’s get real candid, here. What’s his deal?

SANDY DOVER: Deron Williams is armed with entitlement and hubris. He is the post-”Decision” LeBron. Billy King is largely at fault here. Had he not given Williams so much influence in the first place, Williams would know his role. Anyone that’s watched the Nets understands that the team rolled with Brook Lopez, so firing Avery Johnson after the team couldn’t replace Lopez’s production (who went down with a foot injury) is like firing Mike Brown from the L.A. Lakers. Johnson is not a perfect coach, but he is Finals-tested and a proven winner with a healthy stable of productive players. When your leading star is playing like a marginal player, he deserves a great deal of blame. As of right now, Williams is a coach-killer. He can rep that now with “BROOOOKLYNNNNNN!!!” too.

BRANDON SCOTT: It’s difficult to buy what D-Will is selling on being a system player, considering he’s been known to take over and keep his teams in games single-handedly. System player, especially in hindsight, seems to have been code for “We need one.” Anything to avoid looking in the mirror.

MAURICE BOBB: It’s simple: D Will is not who we thought he was.  What kind of elite PG stops penetrating as a matter of principle?  Seriously, this prima donna sh-t has got to stop.  Throwing your coach under the bus like that?  This is the same kind of B.S. that got Stan Van Gundy canned in Orlando.  It ain’t the coach, Deron.  It’s you.  Do like Larry Fishburne said in “School Daze” and wake the eff up.  Let’s be real here, the Brooklyn Nets, after all the smoke cleared from Jay-Z’s historic concert series at the Barclays, were just a gaggle of overpaid has-beens and never-wases. The Nets couldn’t land Dwight, so Deron’s been pouting like a kid who couldn’t finagle ice cream from his parents.  Avery never had a chance, really.  And it’s obvious that Deron has lost a step.  Maybe it’s the fact that his wrist still hasn’t healed properly.  I don’t know.  But it’s clear that he’s become a chucker.  And a very bad chucker at that.  He’s shooting 29 percent from deep and he still wants to chuck that ish?  Ok, Deron, now that AJ is gone, let’s see who you blame when Brooklyn keeps on takin’ it…to the chin.

MICHAEL TILLERY: I asked Nets GM Billy King before the season about the challenge of being patient with this team with all the buildup (ownership, marketing, the move to Barclays): “We just gotta play. We have goals. Our goal is to win. Our goal is to win a championship. Everything will be documented (because of all the exposure). The ups and downs. The challenges will come. How you get ahead of those challenges is how successful your season will be.” The quick hook on Avery fell right into this line of thought. I haven’t been around the team to judge influence (DWill vs. Avery Johnson), but, Deron Williams averaging 16 points and 8 dimes on an ugly 39 percent shooting and a horrid 29 percent from the arc is not cool for a superstar unless your team is winning. He’s not using his above average point guard size and strength to penetrate — his best attribute.  I agree with Sandy. It’s on Billy King. He gets the lionshare, but DWill is a big “cub” like a mug and gets blame as well.

NUBYJAS: I know there are better coaches than Avery Johnson, but none of them would coach this wretchedly mismatched train wreck of a roster. Deron Williams appears to have lost two steps. Joe Johnson isn't comfortable unless he gets 15 jab steps before a shot. Brook Lopez can't stay healthy. Gerald Wallace is past his prime. Andray Blatche is Andray Blatche. All this mess doesn't lead me to believe they'll ever flourish.

KEVIN COTTRELL: Deron appears to be the poster child for the AAU generation, getting what he wants on demand. He challenged Sloan on starting his rookie season then the franchise was placed in his hands. With the help of Sloan, Deron was arguably the best PG in the L. But, quicker than a D-Will crossover, he turned on Sloan, forcing him to retire. Once Deron arrived in Jersey, we all saw a dream scenario where he'd team up with Dwight. That didn't work out and he turned on him, too. (See a pattern?) As seen on the Association, Deron was happy to be in Brooklyn with the Johnsons (Avery & Joe), now that they hit a rough patch, he blamed Avery's system and Joe's need to massage the ball. Maybe Deron needs an assist from a sports psychiatrist because he's running out of people to blame. He’s behind the firing of two coaches with NBA Finals experience, I'm not sure if even the Zen Master could connect with the kid.

DJ DUNSON: This season, Deron Williams is affirming his status as second-class status to Chris Paul and he’s sliding down the point guard hierarchy, but before we book D-Will, interrogate his alibis, take the side profile mugshot and register him into the system as a cantankerous coach killer, it’s not time to bury him in Carmelo Anthony’s recently exhumed New York sports grave plot, yet.  He may have some valid concerns. If we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, Avery Johnson didn’t learn much from his fractured relationship with J. Kidd in Dallas. Avery has an established reputation as an autocratic, defensive-minded helicopter coach and exhibits a Mike D’Antoni-like resistance to change, which is what D-Will was hinting at. He didn’t deserve to get canned, but it seems Brooklyn management made the change for him. So what comes next? If Rihanna can forgive Chris Breezy, who says D-Will can’t welcome Jerry Sloan onto the Brooklyn bench with open arms?

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