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Deron Williams’ Fancy New Shoes

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by Sandy Dover Comments

 

"These weren't just any shoes...these were NIKES."
--Richard Thomas, "Chappelle's Show"

It hasn’t been often within the past three or four years that a New Jersey Nets player has gotten much love from anyone throughout the league. Save for Devin Harris and Vince Carter's team-up in 2008-2009 (in Harris’ lone All-Star campaign), the Nets are lackluster in gaining any kind of attention, let alone getting their own special PE (or player exclusive) shoe.

Enter Deron Williams.

A longtime endorser of the Swoosh since his Utah Jazz days and a bona-fide Nike player since his college days with Illinois -- making Williams a Nike affiliate since 2002 -- the Swoosh decided to extend his extensive PE collection over to colorways that favor the Nets’ own hue, which are red, white, navy blue, and silver gray. Better is the fact that the shoe that Williams wears is arguably the best basketball shoe on the market. Even better is that his shoe is available to the public.

Credit and thanks to the good folks at Sole Collector and Eastbay for the link and accompanying photos.... MORE →

 

There’s not a lot to be excited about for Nets fans and admirers, or even the Nets themselves. Outside of taking down the cross-state rival Knicks on Monday, they’ve been terrible this season, and beat up to boot. Deron Williams is grudgingly stoic, trying to carry the franchise even while he has made mention that it is not his preferred role. Well, what better way to take your mind off of being a loser than to dress like a winner?!

Seen here is Williams modeling the new Nike Hyper Elite uniform to be worn by the 2012 Men’s Olympic Team for the United States. You can jump to Sole Collector for details, but basically, the uniform is environmentally friendly, cool-feeling, and cool-looking; also, Williams looks significantly more content (if expressing any kind of tangible form of emotion is “content” in this context) in the uniform.

Enjoy.

New Jack City Throwbacks!

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Sandy Dover Comments

 

Other than getting waffle-stomped{{1}}[[1]]Editor's note: please don't look this up on Urban Dictionary[[1]] by the Chicago Bulls on January 6 (predictably and unfortunately), the New Jersey Nets decided to get nostalgic and adopt the look of their ABA predecessors, the New York Nets.

Marked by true red, white, and true blue, the Nets wore their away versions of the uniforms, characterized by the player’s left-side uni-body stripes and stars. Last worn in the 1989-1990 season, the only difference between the ABA and NBA Nets uniforms of the same template was the name of the team on the away jersey; ABA and the early NBA version had “NEW YORK”, and the later NBA version had “NETS” with “NEW JERSEY” moving down the red stripe vertically).

This particular uniform is not the best of the Nets’ looks over the years. I actually favor the 1990-1997 set over these, and I like the original version of the current set that New Jersey currently wears, only I prefer the scoopneck collar, the argyle-hole mesh, and I wish they'd adopted the true blue over instead of the dark navy.

The retro unis are somewhat meaningful because of their history, if you’re sourcing Julius Erving and Buck Williams as the Nets’ history. (Though if you like reminiscing on the losers, Chris Morris and Roy Hinson will provide great memories of career underachievers!)

If nothing else, this temporary “new” look will offer something for fans to look forward to, considering the franchise’s current troubled state.

 

Miami Heat 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 New Jersey Nets
DeShawn Stevenson, SG 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -7

Did an admirable job defending LeBron James and contributed some offense, but was basically a whipping boy of the Heat to some extent.

Kris Humphries, PF 39 MIN | 8-21 FG | 9-11 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 25 PTS | -1

Showed emotion and played within his abilities, which are strengths, but not enough to keep the Heat at bay. Had a great individual game tonight.

Deron Williams, PG 39 MIN | 4-16 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 10 PTS | -14

Struggled and did so because he’s the main threat of opposing teams. He had to create offense for an offensively-challenged ballclub, and he was easily contained.

Anthony Morrow, SG 28 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -13

He continues to show some progress in his offense, but his impact was virtually rendered useless against the Heat.

MarShon Brooks, G 24 MIN | 3-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -1

Showed lots of effort tonight and did a good job of being a presence on the floor with his energy.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Nets can easily be tamed when Deron Williams’ lanes are tightly defended. It’s going to be a problem unless there is a talent change within the team. The Miami Heat basically did everything that they wanted to.
  2. Kris Humphries is very competent as a scorer when he’s able to get the ball in the right positions on the court and can clean up. His issue is that he many times is able to achieve great numbers when teams are content to let him do so and just lock down Deron Williams.
  3. The Nets’ bench appears even weaker than I thought, and but it’s also important for coach Avery Johnson to explore it for gold. Shawne Williams is talented and needs more time…in an ideal world, he’d be able to get major minutes, but maybe he’s not up to speed with the Nets’ system.
  4. I understand why the Nets wanted Andrei Kirilenko. Having a long, fast, wiry defender on the perimeter and in the post is something that New Jersey lacked in defending LeBron James. AK-47 would’ve made sense tonight.
  5. The Miami Heat are the NBA’s best, and the Nets are at the bottom. The takeaway from the Nets’ performance is more dramatized because of the talent level and system, but it also shows what the teams clearly lacks, and having Dwight Howard (if he comes) won’t be the only thing that sends the team into the stars—having players with better know-how of how to play will be necessary for the Nets’ hopes to win big.

Nets at Raptors: An SD Reaction

Posted on: January 7th, 2012 by Sandy Dover Comments

 

When the New Jersey Nets played the Toronto Raptors on Saturday (to a win of 97-85), I didn't expect much, honestly. The teams are about the same in talent (the Raptors are more talented, overall), the chemistry of the clubs is still iffy, and it's hard to gauge if two teams that are struggling are actually making true on-court strides. In the case of the Nets, it's clear that strides are being made, at least on an individual level. Here's a brief analysis of what I saw from last night.

  • Thank God for Anthony Morrow. Previously in a slump for the early season, he was electric, scoring 24 points and making 6 of 10 three-point shots. I personally don't trust MarShon Brooks just yet, and Morrow is the best option to really help the team at shooting guard. His shooting is so valuable, and normally, when he's good, he's very good from the arc, and that's a necessity.
  • Deron Williams is carrying this team almost entirely, and he played 39 minutes without much help from behind him. He played ably, shooting 33%, but scoring 24 points in the process. I also got a glimpse of his post moves and it's clear that he can really exploit some defenses that way, and it could be a help to him.
  • Kris Humphries, as flawed as he is, does have true discernible talent, and it's his ability to rebound that enables him to be most productive. 16 rebounds were his great contribution to the Nets, and though he only scored 6 points, it's wasn't totally necessary for him to be an offensive force (though it would be greatly helpful in the not-too-distant future). He kicked butt against a young, talented Raptors frontcourt, and it's duly noted.
  • DeShawn Stevenson has become a bit of a goon in the comic sense. He's like a Dick Tracy character who seems to make an appearance with some sort of weird expression that leaves the audience wondering why he's even in the gang...but then he does something that explicitly adds to the cast and you remember he has a purpose (albeit less glam). Despite the ubiquitous "I Can't Feel My Face" motions and other myriad hand and facial gestures, Stevenson made me (and Toronto) remember that he can ably shoot and make shots, and that he still is a sound defender. With 15 points contributed solely from threes, it's good to know that he does do something that counts for something.

Shawne Williams: Player Profile

Posted on: December 31st, 2011 by Sandy Dover Comments

 

Name: Shawne Williams

Position: SG/SF/PF

Date of Birth: February 16, 1986

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee

Height: 6'9"

Weight: 225

Experience: 4

Drafted: 17th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2006 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers

College: Memphis

2011-12 salary: $3,000,000

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  • Offense: Though Williams’ per-game averages don’t say much for his career, all of the coaches in all of the stops that he’s made in his young career have praised him as an outstanding talent. Little has been made of it, due to his off-the-court issues and great depth that he experienced, mainly in Indiana and Dallas. Averaging 5.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game while shooting 42% isn’t a lot, but when you look at per-36 minutes, Williams gives 13 and 6 from the small forward position, which isn’t ignorable.

    Williams is best offensively when he exploits mismatches with his solid combination of athleticism, size, and skills. Particularly, Williams is a great combo forward that can find certain advantages over opposing forwards with his strong shooting skills and a tall, long frame; he also can play off-guard whenever necessary, as his quickness and length make him a force with the right match-ups.

  • Defense: As a defender, he’s essentially a question mark. Williams hasn’t necessarily been seen as a prime subject, though he was given a substantial amount of time on the floor with the New York Knicks because of his defensive abilities -- which led to him earning a career-high 20.7 minutes per game in New York). It remains to be seen whether he’ll become a long-term factor on defense, but he’s certainly capable. What the Nets need are players that can stop the ball from a defensive standpoint, and Williams can do that when he cares to do so.

  • 2011-12 Outlook: Williams will likely be a prime player for New Jersey, but it’s all about opportunity and earning potential, things he is directly responsible for. I believe that Williams will eventually play 30 minutes per game, but that is a departure from his career norm of just under 16. If he plays anywhere near 20 minutes, expect Williams to be an offensive factor next to Deron Williams. Anything is possible with him, so it remains to be seen whether he’ll achieve a greater level of success with the Nets.

  • Facts of life: Williams has a checkered past, culminating in a brush with the law regarding marijuana and handgun possession. He's matured since then, and much of his future success is predicated on how the Nets handle him. (Don’t eff this up, New Jersey.)

  • Twitter: @SHAWNEWILL3

    Relevant Jay-Z Lyric:
    So if y'all hear my plight
    and if you think you can make it this far without a fight
    Couple mistakes here and there, not always right
    But I'm always real, that's how I sleep at night

    -Sweet

  • Deron Williams: Player Profile

    Posted on: December 24th, 2011 by Sandy Dover Comments

     

    Name: Deron Williams

    Position: PG

    Date of Birth: June 26, 1984

    Hometown: The Colony, Texas

    Height: 6-3

    Weight: 210

    Experience: 6

    Drafted: 1st round, 3rd overall by the Utah Jazz in 2005

    College: The University of Illnois at Urbana-Champaign

    2011-12 salary: $16,359,805

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  • Offense: Deron Williams is one of the most offensively dangerous players in the game, for a number of reasons. One reason is that he’s a natural scorer, something that he developed being an off-guard for most of his pre-NBA years. His career scoring average is 17.2, but it’s probably going to go up, as he now has more freedom to freelance and control sets, something that was not much of an option when he played for the grizzled Jerry Sloan in Utah. Having averaged a career-high 20.1 points per game in 2011, it’s likely that Williams will increase that in a “full” season with New Jersey.... MORE →
  • Jordan Farmar: Player Profile

    Posted on: December 23rd, 2011 by Sandy Dover Comments

     

    Name: Jordan Farmar

    Position: PG

    Date of Birth: November 30, 1986

    Hometown: Los Angeles, California

    Height: 6’2”

    Weight: 180 lbs.

    Experience: 5

    Drafted: 1st round, 26th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006

    College: The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

    2011-12 salary: $4,000,000

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  • Offense: Jordan Farmar isn’t a bad player, and has discernible talent. But between early inexperience and missed opportunities to capitalize on keeping the spotlight, Farmar has yet to meet the expectations that were first placed upon him during his second season in the league, a minor breakout year while playing for the L.A. Lakers.... MORE →
  •  

    These days in late November, it’s a little hard for some of the NBA’s finest fans to cope with the fact that we aren’t seeing those logoed uniforms zipping up and down the hardwood on TV and in the Prudential Center. Does it suck that the league hasn’t been cooperating to put out a brand-spanking-new season as we’d normally expect?

    Short answer: yeah. It sucks. But a lot of things suck harder.

    It’s hard to really be heartbroken to the point of devastation when gas is hard to buy, rent and mortgages are literally keeping people from take care of other responsibilities, and the cold weather is only going to make us as bitter as the air. Still, we can be thankful for what we have, and while the New Jersey Nets aren’t actually active, we can be thankful that they still exist in some form. Here are some good reasons to ponder thankfulness. Glasses up!

    • Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov kept the team from being seriously considered for league contraction.
      It’s not that the NBA had gotten that far into thinking about the lockout back in 2008 and 2009, but ideas were already being thrown around about what franchises were more dissolvable than others. The Nets weren’t exactly setting the league on fire, which made Jay’s co-sign and Prokhorov's bailout of the franchise virtually bulletproof. We don’t know how this lockout is going to turn out, but just be thankful this star power kept the team from being thrown about like a neglected rag doll.
    • Deron Williams is actually optimistic about the Nets.
      It’s not news that Deron isn’t always bright and sunny-like (as we learned from his Utah days). That’s not to say Deron is an unhappy guy, but we just know that he’s fairly stoic about expressing his options (then again, Utah and New Jersey aren’t ideal settings when you think of signing a long-term contract). That he’s been talking upwards about the future of the team is a good sign. Let’s just appreciate this before he makes any other sudden movements.
    • The lockout is keeping us from being reminded of the New Jersey's mediocre talent.
      Jordan Farmar has been my personal disappointment for the past three years. Travis Outlaw is another chief offender (though I feel he was overvalued and misused in the process). I’m not exactly salivating over Brook Lopez these days, either. In a sense, the blessing of the lockout is that fans of the Nets can just focus on getting the team back out and not put too much attention on the fact that the team is crowded with relative disappointments up and down the roster.
    • Kris Humphries’ offseason foray into celebrity marriage makes the Nets a little more interesting.
      Honestly, I’ve always felt that Kris was a worthy NBA player that seemed to not get the best fits early on in his career. I was happy when he finally arrived in New Jersey and started getting minutes and playing like I felt he was capable. Though he was under the radar, he's always been talented. Now he’s famous, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll blossom even further as a player in the process, or whether he’ll wither in the face of the media keeping a post-Kardashian eye on his mug.
    • Hope.
      Regardless of Prokhorov’s stature as a playboy and savvy billionaire, the Nets’ hope is based on their aura as a business and less so about their current roster. It’s because of their impending move to Brooklyn in New York City that they have the appeal of an up-and-coming Fortune 500 business. I’ll take whatever I can get, regardless of the cache.

    #2: Julius Erving

    Posted on: October 20th, 2011 by Sandy Dover Comments

     

    To say that Julius Erving was before my time is a pretty significant understatement. Julius was born in early 1950. He became a professional basketball player in 1971. I was born in late 1983. Julius retired in 1987. I didn’t even think of basketball until 1994. The closest I had gotten to Dr. J was almost buying his Converse All-Star Dr. J 2000 shoes in the late ‘90s.

    To be perfectly honest, my mom was the first person to let me know who Dr. J was, before I even had basketball on my agenda. I had absolutely no idea. She described him as one would a pop icon. And then other family members, who grew up in the ‘70s, they told me about him. They spoke as if he were a great prophet or a disciple of Christ. I couldn’t really fathom it. “He was like Michael Jordan!”, they told me. That didn’t compute. You know why? Because I saw Michael Jordan… and NOBODY was better than him, I thought (and still think).

    But I wasn’t there.

    So…when given the honorable task to compose a piece on The Doctor, I sought out the four men I knew would have the vision that I lacked. I sought a teacher, an artist and colleague, I sought a coach, and I sought a basketball playing legend. The four men -- Vince Carter, Michael Tillery, Jayson Gee, and Charles Oakley -- had what I needed, so instead of me trying to do it all on my own, I let these guys talk to me and give me the knowledge I lacked.
    ... MORE →

    #7: Kenyon Martin

    Posted on: October 13th, 2011 by Sandy Dover Comments

     

    I hope the new fans of the NBA don’t see Kenyon Martin as some old man. I mean, he’s aged in NBA years, but an old man is not what a longtime observer of K-Mart would call him, I doubt that.

    My memories of Kenyon are tied to the University of Cincinnati and the New Jersey Nets, not those powder blue crème puffs out in Colorado. You know, the Denver Nuggets. I never really cared for him as a Nugget, and that probably has more to do with the fact that he hasn't been consistently healthy in Denver. He was the first athlete ever to undergo microfracture surgery on both knees. He’s been pretty jacked up, but he never let that keep him from playing.
    ... MORE →

    #13: Derrick Coleman

    Posted on: October 5th, 2011 by Sandy Dover Comments

     

    The Derrick I'm most familiar with was the guy in Philadelphia. This DC wore the black uniform with wide-set sleeves. The jersey looks like a muscle tank. That Derrick was older, bigger, calmer, and more mature (I’m guessing). He was a good player, but it was fairly visible that he wasn’t what he could've been, or even what he once was.

    It’s hard for me to look or even think about Derrick Coleman now and not think about Rasheed Wallace. They weren’t that far apart in skill level or their peak athleticism. Rasheed was freakish, but Derrick had an understated freak in his own game. The jump shots, the ability to shoot from long-range, the power to bang and score with ease in the post, the knack for grabbing boards (when he felt like it, in Derrick’s case)… they were similar in style and court philosophy. But this isn’t about Rasheed. This about DC.

    I’m not going to go into great detail about what he was when he was young and what potential he had –- that’ll just be an exercise in nostalgic disappointment and mild depression. I want to emphasize that for all of what Derrick Coleman could have become as a player (the Hall of Fame wasn’t out of reach for him, at his sustained best), he was nonetheless a very good player. He was a talent, one that often played for teams that persistently dwelled in mediocrity; and he, like many players, wasn’t happy playing and not winning. He enjoyed the paycheck, sure, but losing wears on talented players who know winning as their experience.

    I’m not going to begrudge Derrick of the credit he’s owed as a talented player in the league. He was an All-Star in 1994. He was a consistent 20-10 player in his five years in New Jersey. He put up some great numbers and was a valued part of the Philadelphia 76ers when they were beginning to hit their stride. I mean, I wanted his Nets jersey, and to me, that counts for something.

    The legacy of Derrick Coleman inevitably rests on what he didn’t do, at least in a macro sense. But the truth of the matter is, Derrick Coleman was usually good, at times really, really good, and in select moments, great. Coleman may never have lived up to those lofty expectations -- for multiple reasons, many his own undoing -- but he nonetheless put together a good career. And, he was a New Jersey Net. Most players don’t get even that opportunity.