Deron Williams’ London mission.
by Matt Ogborn / @mattogborn
The last thing Deron Williams wants to do is talk to the press after a trans-Atlantic flight. Add in a shock deadline trade that shifted him from Utah to the East Coast and you wouldn’t blame him for seeking silent solace in the cavernous corridors of London’s O2 Arena.
Fair play to the former Jazz playmaker, though, because he faced all the predictable questions from the expectant press posse with the minimum of fuss.
With fellow point guard Avery Johnson now holding court on the other side of the hardwood, Williams opened up a little after the craziness of the last eight days or so.
Asked whether the presence of title-winning Johnson on the sidelines helps ease him into New Jersey life, Williams said, “I think it’s great that he’s a point guard and won a championship. He’s been through it and our view on things is the same, so I can talk to him about stuff.”
The assistant coaching set-up also triggered an enthusiastic response amidst the rumors of a Deron sit-tight-and-wait policy that revolves around the move to Brooklyn, new Collective Bargaining Agreement and team ambition. Williams declared, “I think it is very important. A lot of times the guys who have battled in the NBA, they get it and they know. This team is full of guys that have been there and done that.”
One Nets’ coach who’s certainly been there, Sam Mitchell, claimed, “The Nets have a bright future. They have a good coach, ownership and general manager so now with Deron and Brook (Lopez) you have a point guard and a center, and that’s how you want to start a franchise.”
The ex-Raptor head coach, who will face off against his former employer on Friday and Saturday nights, continued: “Deron makes it easier. He knows how to play and run a team. Avery has done a great job of giving him our offense in doses and Deron picks up things really fast.
“Avery being a point guard, those guys are on the same page. Deron understands what it is we are trying to do and he understands the first, second or third options.”
With Toronto stepping up its play against the Hornets, Williams is aware of the need to put down a marker in the back-to-back contests that gives us Europeans a taste of the NBA circus again.
Factor the London 2012 Olympics into the equation and we could be seeing even more of DWill on this side of the pond. He added, “I plan to be back over here for the Olympics and hopefully get my second gold medal. I am excited about it.”
But there’s a big stretch of time before he can even think about the five rings — the necessary evil of relocation arrangements and boosting a 17-43 Nets record still at the forefront of his mind.
The Illinois standout revealed finally: “I’m renting until the end of the season. I haven’t had much time. Only been in my place for one day. It’s tough.”
Even tougher, if the Nets return winless.
Follow Matt on SLAMonline and @mattogborn for Nets coverage in London.