So now we know: D-Will liked it better in Utah.
Readers have come to expect this column to provide hard-hitting analysis and dominate the news cycle, but even we were surprised when the Nets’ franchise point guard addressed the subject of last week’s column — how his shooting has fallen off since moving to the Northeast — by blaming the “system.”
“That system [in Utah] was a great system for my style of play. I’m a system player, and I loved coach [Jerry] Sloan’s system. I loved the offense there,” Williams said according to ESPN, recalling how he thrived in “system” offenses in high school and college.
“I’m used to just movement. So I’m still trying to adjust. It’s been an adjustment for me,” he said, adding that he’s been riddled with injuries since arriving on the East Coast.
It doesn’t take a basketball savant to notice Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson is more focused on the defensive end of the floor and tends to let the boys do what they feel on the offensive end. Isn’t that just the NBA, you say? A bunch of guys standing around while somebody goes one-on-one?
Not exactly, and thanks to Synergy Sports Technology, a tool used by NBA scouts, we have some numbers to prove it. D-Will has worked in isolation a whopping 21 percent of his plays this season — just shy of fellow back courter Joe Johnson’s 24.9 percent, and more than any other starting point guard in the Eastern Conference except Kyrie Irving, lowly Cleveland’s one-man team.
What are other point guards doing when they’re not in isolation? Pick-and-rolls, mostly. More pick-and-rolls would keep D-Will’s defenders off-balance and allow him more creative moments. But he lacks reliable rollers. Power forwards Kris Humphries or Reggie Evans — bruisers without much offensive game — don’t pose a threat going toward the basket, and center Brook Lopez is himself more inclined to work in isolation than a rim-crasher like Tyson Chandler.
Williams needs to start making his shots, but it’s time for coach Johnson to give him a clearer offensive framework. And if a few more pick-and-roll looks can provide a boost, why not?
Matt Spolar is a nearly 6-foot-1 journalist with a middling high school basketball career who is sure the Nets win thanks to team’s top-tier guards.