When I asked Terrence Williams about his involvement with social media just after the Nets drafted him with the 11th pick overall, he told me:
Some of the fans actually believe that basketball players are too cocky or arrogant, and some believe that we’re not real, that we’re not human as funny as it may sound. So I believe that if a kid can get on Twitter and ask me a question and I answer it, I don’t know if I put a smile on the kid’s face, but if somebody was my hero when I was little and I could get on Twitter and write them a question and they answer, it would make my day. If you could get on XBox live and play against somebody you look up to in video games, it would make that person’s day.
Compare that with what he has said over Twitter about his team, his fans, and his playing time recently you get a different feel (In case the links don’t work, view the tweets in question here):
@MMEIZINGER send me the story where I said I play like lebron,btw you look like nothing – 20 hours ago
Up early to the gym before practice to practice before practice, because NOW practice is my games. Welp that’s life – 10 hours ago
How would it be if Mr. Stern called my name 10 min earlier #9 or 5 min later #12 hmmmmmmmmm to bad I can’t live off what ifs – 10 hours ago
Don’t get me WRONG I thank GOD everyday for where I’am and I love it, hardest working when others aint watching an imma get MY game back – 10 hours ago
Its funny u fake fans an fake coaches take what I say the wrong way, I love my team an team mates we are human an hate losing point blank – 7 hours ago
This isn’t Larry Johnson territory, but to call his fans “beyond terrible” and telling them they “look like nothing” (what does that even mean?) is a troubling sign. CDR’s dealing with the losing streak was much talked about, but I am willing to claim that Terrence Williams has been taking the losing as hard if not harder. Combine that with “his benching” on Sunday, and now you have Williams tweeting angrily.
I have a personally experienced this change as well. When I interviewed just after the draft, he was very open with me and willing to talk, answering all of the questions I had asked of them (A few were about his versatility and ability to play multiple positions). Fast forward to Nets’ practice on November 16th (the Nets were 0-10 then), there I was once again given the chance to interview him. I was hoping to ask him some questions for the position piece I wrote on him. When it was my turn to talk to him I asked him if he enjoyed playing multiple positions or if he would rather focus on just one. He paused for a second, looked at me, and said “Is that a real question?” I said yes, he gave me the one quote I used, and that was it, interview over. I assumed it was just because he didn’t want to be bothered by a blogger (and frankly I don’t blame him – I am not telling this story because I am mad about it), but looking back on it now after the tweets, it just seems to be him not handling the losing and the negative press about him too well. I don’t know how Terrence Williams handles himself to the beat-writers, so I can’t speak on that, but it does seem to me that he is shutting down. Another example of Terrence shutting down is he hasn’t had a post over at his site RookieChronicles.com since after opening night. Combine all of that with him openly talking about wanting to be on other teams, and you have yourself a potential problem.
To me being upset is understandable, I mean he has lost just about as many games in one year as he has in his entire college career. Being upset isn’t the problem though, the problem is him openly imagining what it would be like on other teams (Gerald Henderson, the player who was selected 12th overall has only played 10.0 MPG because his coach refuses to play rookies. I don’t think he would like it there very much either). That really isn’t going to make Nets’ fans very happy. You know, the ones he called “fake.”
And also, about his “benching” (I am going to keep putting it quotes right now, because one game isn’t enough to determine a benching), Kiki being the GM next year has a lot to do with the success of Terrence Williams. Kiki is going to give Williams plenty of opportunities to succeed, because it he does in fact succeed, Kiki will look like a very smart man. So if Terrence Williams isn’t playing, it is because of one of two reasons. Either he is injured, or he is playing so poorly that Kiki can’t justify putting him out on the court. The latter is true right now because Terrence Williams has very poor shot selection (73% of his shots are jump shots according to 82games.com). Trying to justify the poor shooting earlier in the year, I said that he is taking shots because he is forced to with all the injuries. Well, almost everyone is back and Terrence is still chucking. It is no coincidence that Terrence only played 5 minutes against the Knicks after going 2-12 (including 7 jump shots) in the Nets win on Friday. Terrence Williams is much more effective driving the lane than settling for jumpers (remember that drive and dunk against the Lakers?), and I think Kiki is going to keep Williams out until he shows that he is willing to drive to the basket. Maybe only playing 5 minutes on Sunday will open his eyes up to that, and he will start attacking the basket more often. I think that is what Kiki is trying to do here.
All of this being said, I hope Terrence Williams keeps his twitter account going. Aside from the tweets I showed here, his tweets are funny and fun to read, and hopefully the Nets win some games so this can become a non-issue.