http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/nets/2013/08/jason-kidd-has-a-statistical-goal-for-deron-williamsThe possible reasons for Deron Williams’ regression have been documented and dissected, with conclusions mostly bouncing from an extended aberration to the beginnings of an ill-timed downfall.
There were injuries to blame in New Jersey, along with subpar teammates and poor fan support. Then there were more injuries in Brooklyn, extra weight, and Avery Johnson’s unimaginative offense.
But since Jason Kidd’s introductory press conference in July, Brooklyn’s coach has aggressively pitched the rejuvenation of his point guard. It’s a task Kidd seems most qualified to accomplish given his history at the position.
On Sunday, the rookie coach revealed a statistical goal for Williams. It concerns passing, not surprisingly.
“I’m going to push him. I want the best for him,” Kidd said after signing autographs at the Nets’ merchandise store in Coney Island. “When we sit down and talk about goals, team goals and also individual goals, I’m going to push him and I want to get him back to double-digit assists.”
Williams hasn’t averaged at least 10 assists since 2010-11, which represented the fourth straight season he eclipsed that mark. Last season’s 7.7 assists per game was Williams’ lowest output since he was a rookie. And as the assist numbers dipped in the last two seasons, so did Williams’ shooting percentage.
But there was a tangible turning point, which Kidd referenced Sunday. After undergoing multiple procedures to his inflamed ankles during the All-Star break, Williams dropped about 15 pounds by changing his diet and exercise routine.
He was again spry and without ankle pain, capable of pulling off a reverse double-pump dunk after failing to record a single jam for the first five months of last season.
Kidd’s goal before the Nets traded for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce was to push the tempo and play to the point guard’s strengths as a spontaneous creator in the open court.
Acquiring two aging and slowing starters from Boston complicates that plan, but Kidd insisted Williams will still run.
“You don’t want to take away from Deron’s freedom and creativity of putting pressure on the defense,” Kidd said. “And I thought he did a great job of that in the second half of last season. When he lost the weight, physically he felt better. His strength is when he’s in the open court. So we’ll definitely talk about that on the daily, about him making things happen without having to set the ball up.”