Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams has, according to some naysayers, earned the reputation as a coach killer: he reportedly caused his former Utah Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan to retire after a dispute over how the team should be run a few years back, and criticized former Nets coach Avery Johnson’s offensive system just days before Johnson was fired as Brooklyn’s head coach last winter.
After last night’s preseason win over the Miami Heat, Williams sounded off about his reputation as a “coach killer” and how he likes his offense to be run. Via ESPN New York:
“It’s different. Y’all thought I was talking about Avery last year. I never said anything bad about Avery. I just said the way we were playing, it’s tough to win like that. It’s tough to win — especially against good teams — you can’t win just holding the ball and going one-on-one. Against the Chicago Bulls, you can’t win like that. You can’t play on just one side of the floor because you play right into what they’re trying to do.”
Instead of the heavy dose of isolations the Nets featured last season, Williams says he likes what coach Jason Kidd (and offensive coordinator John Welch) has brought to the table in terms of offense:
“With this team, if we move the ball, if we share the ball, play like we did tonight, have a bunch of assists, it’s fun to play that way. And that’s the way I like to play.”
Williams has thrived in a motion offense, similar to what he ran in Utah under Sloan. It was in those seasons that Williams put up the best numbers of his career and had his deepest playoff run — a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2007. Shooting guard Joe Johnson said in an in-game interview that the Nets run a “freelance” offense, based on motions and reads.
The offensive potential was on display last night after Williams buried three consecutive three-pointers in about a minute’s worth of action. The Nets also put up 41 points in the second quarter and hit 17 threes overall in the rout of the Miami Heat.