The Brooklyn Nets came into the 2012-2013 NBA regular season with a ton of hype surrounding them. They have a fresh look, a new arena and have point guard Deron Williams they have a franchise player. Wherever there is hype, expectations are not too far behind. It’s still early in the season, however the Nets so far have lived up to that hype.
I’m keeping an eye on the Nets for a couple of reasons: I’m from Brooklyn and I’m a loyal New York Knicks fan. The Nets moving to Brooklyn this year not only re-energized their fanbase, it also gave Brooklyn a professional sports team again.
Early in the season, the Nets are right now behind the Knicks in the division. They’ve clearly made it known to anyone watching that they are no longer the doormats of the NBA. This has become a fun team to watch that has legitimate playoff aspirations.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here is the flipside to that optimistic coin that’s currently on the table and it involves Williams. Williams is right around his career averages in rebounding, steals and assist numbers. However, his shooting percentage is down and that’s a red flag because he happens to be a point guard who shoots the ball at a high volume.
The early-season shooting struggles for Williams could have to do with the fact that he’s playing through a list of minor injuries right now. He has issues with his wrist, legs and elbow. He’s been playing hurt.
Williams has always logged heavy minutes, as he’s currently averaging 36.2 minutes per game. During the Nets most recent five-game stretch, Williams averaged 38.8 MPG including 42 in their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ironically in the loss to the Thunder, Williams had a very good shooting night (10-20, 33 points). That’s a positive sign that maybe he’s found his shooting touch, however head coach Avery Johnson has to find a way to keep him fresh.
The Nets are getting solid contributions from their role players like Andray Blatche, while Joe Johnson is giving them about what I expected from him. However, he needs to do more. They also need a healthy Brook Lopez because without him in the lineup, Williams has had to shoulder more of the scoring.
Williams was paid a great deal of money by the Nets over the summer so that he could be their point guard and the face of the franchise. The Nets also spent more money surrounding him with players that bring depth and can be counted on to take some of the pressure off him.
It’s an 82-game regular season and the Nets built this team to make the playoffs, but they need Williams to be healthy in order to get that done.