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?