The Brooklyn Nets are playing well — 11-5 on the season, a defense that is better than expected (11th in the league) and a signature win over the Knicks at home.
But Deron Williams is not playing well, or at least not as well as he expected. He’s averaging 16.8 points per game on 39.9 percent shooting. The Nets offense has been good but could be phenomenal if Williams got his numbers and play back up to what we remember from Utah.
Williams is playing through a sprained wrist and is frustrated, he told the New York Times.
“It’s not my wrist, man, it’s my confidence,” Williams said in a reflective moment, after finishing with 10 points and a 3-for-11 shooting performance. “I just got to play better. Injuries or not, I got to play. I can’t keep having 10 points, not being aggressive. I just got to find a rhythm. It’s just tough.”
It’s not just one area that is hurting Williams — he is getting one-in-five of his shot attempts (20.6 percent of them) in isolation and is shooting just 32.5 percent in that setting. He is shooting just 34.1 percent when coming off a screen. As the pick-and-roll ball handler he is shooting 4-of-15 from three (stats via Synergy Sports). He’s not just missing one kind of shot, he’s missing them all.
What might worry Nets fans is these numbers from Williams are pretty much in line with what he has done since leaving Utah. He shot just 40.8 percent all of last season, his true shooting percentage (which counts in threes and free throws to make a points per possession like stat) is 53.1 percent this year and was 52.8 last season. In Utah his last season he shot 45.8 percent overall and his true shooting percentage was 58.8 percent. The drop is pretty steep.
It’s a long season and we are just 15 games in. Williams has a lot of time to get his wrist right, time for his shooting rhythm to come back. The Nets are doing pretty well without it now, but if you start to think about the long grind of the season or the playoffs, they are going to need more from D-Will to get where they want to go.
Rick Carlisle coached 13 seasons, including seven in Dallas, when the Mavericks stated he could coach them as long as he wanted.
Steve Kerr needed just three seasons with the Warriors.
Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Kerr has done an amazing job in Golden State, implementing a pace-setting offense predicated on movement and fine-tuning a quality defense.
It helps to have great players like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and eventually Kevin Durant. But Kerr has maximized them. He has also played a prominent role in establishing a productive culture throughout the entire organization.
Of course, health is the big catch. Kerr has missed significant time the last two years due to complications from back surgery. He’s looking forward to a long career, but those headaches and pains aren’t far in the rearview mirror.
Kerr clearly knows how to win with this super team, not necessarily as easy of a task as it appears. He has more than earned the right to stay on the bench for the Warriors’ next iteration, whenever that comes.
Hotshot coaches can fade quickly, but Kerr has established an unprecedented amount of goodwill so quickly. Hopefully, he stays healthy enough to take up Myers on his pledge.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would continue look at 1-16 playoff seeding.
Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:
Silver is well-intentioned on this issue, and open-minded, too—as he is on most agenda items that could, in theory, make the league better. But despite his willingness to discuss postseason reformatting, multiple people familiar with league discussions say it’s not anywhere near the top of the agenda.
After its analysis of the issue in ’15, the league concluded that, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t sensible to change the playoff format. The two key factors, according to league sources, were 1) travel; and 2) a belief among league officials that conference imbalance was a temporary trend that would correct itself, as it typically has in the past.
For playoff qualification to truly be fair, teams would have to play a balanced schedule. As is, teams play teams in their own conference 52 times and teams from the other conference 30 times.
More 10 p.m. starts on the East Coast and 4 p.m. starts on the West Coast would hurt TV ratings.
Plus, as relative conference strength exists now and has existed for several years, 1-16 playoff seeding would make it harder for bigger Eastern Conference markets and easier for smaller Western Conference markets to qualify for the postseason.
Quality of competition matters, and there would be value in the NBA building a playoff field of its 16 best teams. But follow the money. There isn’t nearly enough urgency with this issue to overcome the direct financial setbacks reform would cause.
The Warriors can exhale. Their status as overwhelming championship favorites remains intact.
Draymond Green injured his knee in Golden State’s season-opening loss to the Rockets, but it appears he didn’t suffer major damage.
Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Even if Green misses a little time, the Warriors should be fine. They can cruise until playoffs – maybe even a round or two into the playoffs.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are Golden State’s best players, but Green’s defense is so important, especially in small-ball lineups with him at center. The Warriors led Houston by 13 when Green left the game and then couldn’t get enough fourth-quarter stops in a one-point loss.
Golden State values rest and built a supporting cast around its stars to follow through. If Green misses tomorrow’s game against the Pelicans or any beyond, Jordan Bell, David West, Kevon Looney and Omri Casspi could all see bigger roles.
The Grizzlies are undefeated, having topped another playoff hopeful (Pelicans) in their season-opener.
But things seem tenuous in Memphis.
Not only is Chandler Parsons feuding with Grizzlies fans, JaMychal Green is hurt.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The supporting cast looks rickety around Mike Conley and Marc Gasol unless second-rounder Dillon Brooks (19 points on 7-of-13 shooting +17 against New Orleans) keeps humming. And maybe even still then.
Green’s injury opens the door for bigger roles for Jarell Martin and maybe Parsons (gulp).
At least Green locked in his guaranteed money. This shows why he couldn’t afford to risk taking the qualifying offer.