The Deron Williams – A.J. Price shoving match wasn’t the proudest moment in the Brooklyn Nets beating the Washington Wizards and getting their first (preseason) home win in their new arena, but at least is gave an indication of what their all-star point guard feels about the team.
‘It’s my home now.’ I told him that. I hate when people just start talking for no reason, that’s pretty much what he did. Maybe he had some boys in the crowd he wanted to impress while he can with the little minutes he’s going to get this year.
Because through the first season and some that Williams spent with the New Jersey Nets, it seemed like a place he was in to pass the time, hoping and waiting for free agency so he can bolt to Dallas or Los Angeles and play for the Lakers. When it looked certain that Dwight Howard was going to get traded to the Nets, things didn’t fall apart.
The move to Brooklyn seems to have brought new life and excitement to the squad, with the addition of Joe Johnson and the return of Brook Lopez from an injury that kept him out for almost an entire season helping as well. Williams wanted to play for a contender, a team with aspirations of putting on some sort of superstar squad and aiming for the playoffs and more. After two consecutive years that ended in the regular season, it looks like Williams has a lot to be happy about once again.
The Nets are building and marketing around their big four – Williams, Wallace, Johnson and Lopez, but it’s clear that the first played that needs to deliver is Williams, who averaged 21 points and 8.7 assists per game last season. His production against the Wizards – 11 points and 9 assists. A big key will be for him to probably take it down a notch when it comes to taking the offense and especially the shooting on his back, hopefully improving on his 40.7% field goal percentage from last season.
Success changes the moods and outlook of a player. While the Nets have yet to actually achieve anything under the new ownership, there’s a real sense of a change in fortunes for this team with the move to Brooklyn and the improved squad, which makes Williams more enthusiastic about playing for the franchise than he ever was.