Tag: Deron Williams

Matthew Dellavedova, Derrick Rose

Matthew Dellavedova is the most improbable leading scorer of these playoffs


LeBron James – at a level rivaled in the last decade by only the pre-Heat version of himself – has carried the Cavaliers throughout these playoffs.

Cleveland seemingly needed him more than ever in Game 6 against the Bulls on Thursday. Not only was Kevin Love obviously still out, Kyrie Irving left the game with a knee injury.

But LeBron was just 2-for-9 and hadn’t made a 3-pointer or gotten to the free-throw line midway through the second quarter. Cleveland trailed by one.

Enter Matthew Dellavedova.

Dellavedova – an undrafted second-year player best known for leg-locking Taj Gibson – led Cleveland with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers, in the 94-73 series-clinching win.

How improbable was it that Dellavedova would lead a team in scoring during an NBA playoff game?

He averaged just 4.8 points per game during the regular season, and even with this outburst, he’s still averaging just 6.0 points per game in the playoffs.

None of the other 134 players, counting ties, to lead a team in scoring this postseason (gold) scored fewer points per game in the regular season than Dellavedova (wine):


Or in the playoffs:


Player Games as team’s leading scorer Points per game (regular season) Points per game (playoffs)
James Harden (HOU) 9 27.4 26.3
Stephen Curry (GSW) 7 23.8 27.8
LeBron James (CLE) 7 25.3 26.5
Blake Griffin (LAC) 7 21.9 25.4
Jimmy Butler (CHI) 6 20.0 22.9
Bradley Beal (WAS) 6 15.3 22.8
Marc Gasol (MEM) 6 17.4 19.6
DeMarre Carroll (ATL) 5 12.6 16.4
Anthony Davis (NOP) 4 24.4 31.5
Monta Ellis (DAL) 4 18.9 26.0
Chris Paul (LAC) 4 19.1 21.7
Derrick Rose (CHI) 4 17.7 20.3
Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 3 16.5 20.3
Brook Lopez (BRK) 3 17.2 19.8
Tim Duncan (SAS) 3 13.9 17.9
Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 3 16.4 17.5
Jeff Teague (ATL) 3 15.9 14.8
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) 2 23.4 21.8
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 2 17.3 21.2
Klay Thompson (GSW) 2 21.7 20.8
DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 2 20.1 20.3
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 2 21.7 19.8
Dwight Howard (HOU) 2 15.8 17.3
Khris Middleton (MIL) 2 13.4 15.8
Paul Millsap (ATL) 2 16.7 15.3
Mike Conley (MEM) 2 15.8 14.9
Damian Lillard (POR) 1 21.0 21.6
C.J. McCollum (POR) 1 6.8 17.0
Joe Johnson (BRK) 1 14.4 16.5
Al Horford (ATL) 1 15.2 15.8
Paul Pierce (WAS) 1 11.9 15.8
Zach Randolph (MEM) 1 16.1 15.7
J.J. Redick (LAC) 1 16.4 15.2
Pau Gasol (CHI) 1 18.5 14.4
Nicolas Batum (POR) 1 9.4 14.2
Marcin Gortat (WAS) 1 12.2 13.6
Courtney Lee (MEM) 1 10.1 13.4
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 1 11.5 12.8
Lou Williams (TOR) 1 15.5 12.8
Jarrett Jack (BRK) 1 12.0 12.3
Kyle Lowry (TOR) 1 17.8 12.3
Jared Sullinger (BOS) 1 13.3 12.3
Michael Carter-Williams (MIL) 1 14.6 12.2
Kyle Korver (ATL) 1 12.1 12.1
Deron Williams (BRK) 1 13.0 11.8
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 1 12.7 11.5
Amir Johnson (TOR) 1 9.3 11.5
Alan Anderson (BRK) 1 7.4 11.0
Mike Dunleavy (CHI) 1 9.4 10.9
Evan Turner (BOS) 1 9.5 10.5
Otto Porter (WAS) 1 6.0 10.3
Dennis Schroder (ATL) 1 10.0 10.2
Marco Belinelli (SAS) 1 9.2 9.3
O.J. Mayo (MIL) 1 11.4 9.0
Nene (WAS) 1 11.0 8.2
Ramon Sessions (WAS) 1 6.3 8.1
Beno Udrih (MEM) 1 7.7 8.0
Zaza Pachulia (MIL) 1 8.3 6.7
Matthew Dellavedova (CLE) 1 4.8 6.0

LeBron finished Game 6 with just 15 points on 7-of-23 shooting. He’d been 0-9 in the playoffs when scoring so little.

Of course, none of those previous nine games came with Dellavedova at his side.

Report: Nets not interested in buying out contract of Deron Williams

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four

Deron Williams had one stellar playoff game for the Nets, scoring 35 points during an incredible throwback performance that temporarily silenced all of his doubters.

But the resurgence was short-lived.

Williams came crashing back to reality in the games that followed, scoring just 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting combined in his team’s final two contests, both of which were losses to the Hawks that resulted in Brooklyn’s elimination from the postseason.

The Nets need to make changes in order to compete next season, but two contracts in particular seem to have them stuck. Joe Johnson has one year and close to $25 million remaining on his contract, while Williams possesses one even worse.

He’s owed $43 million guaranteed over the next two years, and Brooklyn could get out from under that by using the stretch provision to buy Williams out. But that reportedly isn’t in the team’s plans as free agency approaches.

From David Aldridge of NBA.com:

But a buyout of Williams, while potentially saving the Nets millions of dollars via the “stretch” provision, is not in the cards. The Nets are not interested in giving Williams $43 million to not play. The intriguing question is whether the Nets can deal Joe Johnson and his expiring contract, at $24.8 million next season. For one year, even at that price, Johnson would have suitors.

Devin Kharpertian at The Brooklyn Game broke down exactly how much could be saved by cutting Williams loose.

The primary reason the Nets should do this would be to remain out of repeater-tax territory. The team has claimed to be intent on re-signing Brook Lopez (which would almost certainly require a deal approaching the max), and plans to retain Thaddeus Young, as well — who has a player option for $10.2 million, unless he chooses free agency. Those two moves, with the rest of the current contracts still in place, would push the Nets over next year’s tax line somewhat certainly.

If Brooklyn can shed Joe Johnson’s deal in trade, then paying Williams to go away might not be necessary. That could be the plan for now, which would make sense given the team’s current stance that Williams won’t be bought out anytime soon.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins on Deron Williams: ‘He’s not a franchise player anymore’

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets - Game Six

Before the season, Lionel Hollins said he’d frequently put the ball in Deron Williams hands. The Nets point guard declared himself healthier and more confident.


Hollins on Williams, via Mike Mazzeo of ESPN:

“He’s not a franchise player anymore,” Hollins said on Saturday morning during break-up day. “He’s a good player, he’s a solid player, but I don’t think he’s a franchise player anymore. That’s just my opinion. He’s a good player. I’m proud of the way he’s bounced back and played, and there’s so much pressure on him to be a franchise player, and everybody talks about a franchise player, but we need to have a franchise team.

This isn’t a shocking revelation, but it’s a little surprising to see someone from the team so candidly admit it. The Nets are better off for accepting this conclusion.

Williams is still capable of playing extremely well at times, but as Paul Pierce said, the point guard has yet to sustain that level in Brooklyn. At age 30, Williams appears to have lost a step, and players rarely improve their athleticism into their 30s.

Unfortunately for the Nets, they’re probably stuck with Williams, who has two years and more than $43 million remaining on his contract. Worse, they’re sapped of assets (draft picks, young players), used to acquire Williams and other past-their-prime stars.

It’s one thing to know they can’t depend on Williams for major production. But how do they reach the point they no longer need to in order to advance in the playoffs?

Joe Johnson on Nets future: ‘I don’t see us coming back as the same team’

brook lopez joe johnson kg

The Nets were eliminated from the postseason by the top-seeded Hawks on Friday, and though it took longer than expected thanks to Brooklyn finding away to stay competitive for most of the series, the reality is that the Nets need to undergo a serious set of changes to the roster in order to be more competitive next season.

Joe Johnson, the team’s highest-paid player, knows this perhaps better than anyone else.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“I have no idea. Something’s going to happen. I don’t know what. I don’t see us coming back as the same team. This is my third year here. I could see if we were getting better each year, but it’s kind of been the opposite. So to not even be a .500 ball club in the East. It’s disheartening and I don’t know. I think everyone in that locker room is unsure of the future here. So we’ll see what happens going into the summer.”

In a word: Yep.

Changes most certainly are coming, but exactly what they’ll be remains unclear.

Brook Lopez has a player option for next season, but even if he chooses to become an unrestricted free agent, the Nets seem to be extremely likely to re-sign him. Thaddeus Young is likely to be back, because his player option of $10.2 million is worth taking, especially when considering it will set him up to become an unrestricted free agent just as the salary cap is set to spike in advance of the 2016-17 season. Alan Anderson, who provided a much-needed offensive spark off the bench at times during the postseason, said he’ll be opting out of the final year of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he may or may not be back depending on what the market decides.

Where it gets much murkier is with Johnson and Deron Williams — both of whom are vastly overpaid, and neither of whom are capable of being franchise players any longer. The Nets would love to move one or both of them to get some players who are on more reasonable contracts, or ones that could more readily contribute to a more consistent level of success.

Johnson is the more likely to be moved, because he only has one year remaining on his contract for $24.8 million, while Williams has two at $21 and $22 million respectively. But it won’t be easy to find any takers.

All we know right now is that changes to the Nets’ roster are, at this point, an inevitability. And Johnson knows it, as well.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins on whether it took too long for his team to figure things out: ‘Did we make the playoffs?’

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two

NEW YORK — The Nets saw their season come to an end on Friday, in a game where the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks finally looked like the 60-win team we saw earlier in the regular season.

Atlanta broke the game open with a 23-3 run to start the second half, and eliminated Brooklyn from the postseason in blowout fashion.

The Nets finished the regular season six games under .500, and the team’s total of 38 wins continued a decline that’s occurred in consecutive campaigns. But Nets head coach Lionel Hollins was proud of the way his guys were able to come together late, and seemed to use the playoffs as a measuring stick of whether or not he was able to achieve some measure of success.

“I’m proud of our team,” Hollins said. “Where we started back in September, the uncertainty, new coach, trying to blend it all together, the injuries and ups and downs, I’m thankful for the players and what they gave, and proud of how they stuck with it. And we were able to secure a playoff spot.

“Some people would say hey, maybe we didn’t deserve it. But that’s their problem. I think that we battled and fought and overcame, and even in this series we battled and fought. It would have been nice to get another victory and have a chance to go to a seventh game, but it wasn’t to be.”

The Nets did find a way to beat the Hawks twice, and were competitive at times for essentially five-and-a-half of the six games of the series. Hollins hammered this point home when he was asked if his team took longer than expected to figure things out.

“Did we make the playoffs,” Hollins interrupted, somewhat defiantly. “OK, there’s your answer. If we didn’t make the playoffs, then you could ask that question. But right now, my feeling is that we overcame, we got to the playoffs — however long it takes, is however long it takes. I’m not in control of however long (it takes for ) everybody to come together. But we did come together, and we had a beautiful run down the stretch. And we made the playoffs.”

Hollins choice of finding some positivity in his team’s late-season run just to make the postseason — even with a record of just 38-44, and even in the watered-down Eastern Conference — seemed to have trickled down to his players.

“I’m happy we were able to fight and get into postseason play with all the injuries and the changes that were made throughout the course of the season.,” Jarrett Jack said. “I think all of us had bigger expectations for ourselves, but all in all I thought we pushed this team to the limit. We came into a situation where we fought tooth and nail to get into the playoffs, and I thought when we got in, we didn’t disappoint.”

“We wanted to make the playoffs,” Deron Williams said. “We did, and we thought we put up a great effort against this team that’s the best in the East.”

The Nets did give their fans some excitement near the end of a mostly dreary season, and there is certainly something to be said for that. Hollins did a good job of shuffling lineups and getting the most out of what he had against the Hawks, and found a rallying point around Williams, who endured an avalanche of criticism publicly before his breakout 35-point Game 4 performance.

But that doesn’t erase the fact that Brooklyn largely underachieved for the vast majority of the regular season.

“It seemed to take a bit longer than all of us would have liked,” Jack said. “But that’s basketball for you.”