It was a unforgettable, magical whirlwind of basketball these past couple months in Istanbul. I guess.
Besiktas, the Turkish team that had Deron Williams while lawyers argued BRI on the other side of the globe, decided to send D-Will off with a jersey retirement ceremony, reports Deadspin (and the video is below).
D-Will looked pretty sloppy (and a little heavy) at the start of the season but by the end was dropping 50 on teams that could not begin to match his athleticism. He finished averaging 21.8 points and 6.5 assists per game.
This makes sense in that D-Will is the best player ever to play in the Turkish league (with all due respect to Mehmet Okur and Zaza Pachulia).
Now Williams will return to the United States and holding the Nets hostage in the last year of his deal.
As a consolation prize, the Turkish league gets to keep Sasha Vujacic, who did not sign with an NBA out.
I realize now that the headline on this post brings up memories of a legendary WKRP in Cincinnati episode, but that was not the intent. This is really the video of Deron Williams scoring 50 for Besiktas in Turkey.
As expected, no guard in that league can really stay in front of D-Will. Which is true of the NBA as well, but the guards here tend to have better help defense behind them.
There is no sugar coating it. A few games in playing for Turkish side Besiktas, the biggest name in the NBA to sign overseas has not impressed anyone.
Williams led Besiktas into the EuroCup last week, which is a second tier tournament that took place in Belgium, and he had 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting with 6 turnovers. The man who should dominate at this level watched his team get eliminated fast.
Days before that in D-Will’s debut for Besiktas he was 3 for 15 shooting.
The man the Nets are talking about building around is getting bumped around, reports the New York Times. The physical play allowed in Europe seems to throw Williams off his game.
Asked if he was still adjusting to the European game, Williams said: “I mean, I’ve played in a lot of European basketball. I’ve played in the Olympics. But this is definitely different. The way the reffing has been going has been different for me, but I’ve got to adjust.”
It is all something that should concern Nets fans. It in no way is time to panic — he’s playing his way into shape and getting his skills sharp just being out on the court — but it’s something to watch. After playing through injuries last season and missing the end of the year, Williams is still trying to find his groove.
Deron Williams lands in Turkey, some still doubt he stays
Since July when he signed on the dotted line, Deron Williams has always sounded serious and excited about playing in Turkey for Besiktas,
Since that same July day, there have been doubters, people in the game that say he will not play or not play long for the Turkish side.
Thursday Williams boarded a plane for Turkey, and as you read this he should be in Istanbul. But that hasn’t changed opinions, and the fact he admitted the wrist he had surgery on after the season is still not 100 percent now plays a factor in those thoughts. People wonder why a guy on the verge of his biggest NBA payday next summer (when he becomes a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal) would risk playing overseas. To make my point, read this from the New York Daily News.
But his recovery has been closely watched because several NBA team executives think that his wrist issues will give him a perfectly legitimate excuse to bail on Besiktas, a second-tier team, if he finds that living in Turkey isn’t for him. The countdown for his return to the U.S. will start in earnest the first time he gets hacked on the wrist….
“I’m excited,” he said last Saturday, about his new overseas career. “I think it’ll be exciting to go over there and play basketball, for one, while everybody else isn’t. It’ll just be an exciting time for my family. See a new culture.”
Williams seems to have the right mindset about this, he seems to be genuinely excited. But the only way he will prove the doubters wrong is to still be in Turkey in a couple months.
And he spoke with the Salt Lake Tribune and gave an update on the injured wrist he played through at the end of last season and had surgery on once the Nets were done in the playoff race (well, long after that, really).
Yeah, yeah. I wouldn’t say 100 percent. I’ve still got to do some strengthening and breaking up scar tissue. I think that’s a process with any surgery.
His wrist will get stronger and some scar tissue will get worked out when he goes to start playing in Turkey soon. While we may wonder why a guy on the verge of a huge free agent contract would risk injury playing overseas, it will be good for his wrist and he will be sharp once the Nets do open camp after the lockout ends.