Is Something Getting the Best of You?

by Eric Mollo
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Point guard Deron Williams doing his best not to let frustration get the best of him

It is said that winning can mask all pains. Losing does just the opposite. It exposes all weaknesses, and the Nets have some glaring ones. As the season drags on, the losses keep coming. The team has now dropped 8 of their first 10, sporting the 28th worst offense in basketball (87 PPG), shooting under 40 percent from the field.

Needless to say, the team is frustrated, especially point guard Deron Williams. “D-Will,” as they call him, understands the team faces an uphill battle to overcome a brutal schedule and multitude of injuries, and it’s no secret to him that his team is not one overwhelmingly talented. Despite the difficult start to the season, Williams is attempting to prove that he is a leader on the court by turning his frustration into something positive, an attitude the Nets need out of their leader if they want to start winning.

Deron has been critical of himself as well as the team. He’s upset with his turnover ratio, sitting at a league-lead 4.6 per game, as well as his meager 34 percent shooting percentage from both in the paint and beyond the arc.

Williams, like head coach Avery Johnson, is trying to weave out the positives in a season filled with subpar performances, but has not feared being critical of the team’s overall play. He sarcastically praised their 40+ shooting percentage after Monday’s game, one of the few facetious comments Deron has made over the past couple weeks about his struggling team and his own play.

While it may look like a season of profuse turnovers and snarky remarks, Williams is not trying to create that image for himself on and off the court. After a self-evaluation, Deron realized his body language “was bad the last couple of games,” dating back to Saturday night’s loss to the Heat. The star point guard isn’t pleased with himself either, declaring that he needs to do a “better job” of leading his guys. He won’t allow his teammates to see him “visibly frustrated since his leadership is especially important for a team consisting of some new rookie and veteran faces. He admitted that he was informed of his poor body language by those within the organization, but claimed he recognized that he was not carrying himself as a team leader before he was approached about the matter.

Williams has been hanging his head on the court, but not because he has given up hope on his squad. He sees correctable mistakes and missed opportunities, unfulfilled potential that could be achieved with a few days of practice, something this team literally hasn’t had the time to do. D-Will says the team’s timing is off, they’re lacking execution, and he is “expecting people to be in certain places and they’re not,” problems that are typically resolved during practices. It’s no coincidence the team played their best game last week against Toronto following a full day of practice.

A combination of bad play along with a lack of practice time has been the greatest of pet peeves for New Jersey’s superstar point guard. But as the team leader, Deron Williams realizes he is the constant, the one factor that needs to stay composed during the harshest of conditions. While it could be construed Williams is giving up on his squad, it’s the farthest thing from the truth. He is desperately searching for a solution to the wave of problems that keep crashing on this team, and he’s trying to not let himself get in the way of his own leadership and success on the court.

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