Deron Williams needs Lionel Hollins

Deron Williams is almost back in the lineup, Brooklyn Nets fans! Ever since Deron Williams went down with rib injuries, the Nets have crashed and burned to 2-10 record which includes a 39-point humiliation on national television to the Los Angeles Clippers and a 35-point smack down to the Utah Jazz that should have been an undercard in the WWE Royal Rumble this past weekend.

Even though Deron Williams is participating in non-contact drills in practice, the Brooklyn Nets have held Williams out of Wednesday’s game versus the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks. It might be frustrating to Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets, but it is a smart move. As hot as the Atlanta Hawks are right now, winning the last 16 games which is the equivalent to being the lead story on SportsCenter if they lose, now is not the time.

But when the time comes for Deron Williams to come back, the question still remains… Will it really matter with the fortunes of the Brooklyn Nets?

There was a time when Deron Williams was the undisputed leader of the new era of the Nets franchise. The franchise started their transition out of New Jersey to Brooklyn with Williams being the face of the franchise getting him in a trade from Utah. The Nets took a huge gamble trading away lottery pick Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first round picks and three million dollars in cash for a player who was to opt out after the season. Fortunately, a $100 million dollar extension in 2012 kept Deron Williams in Brooklyn and out of a Dallas Mavericks uniform.

Now it’s 2015 and it’s looking like Brooklyn has buyer’s remorse like someone spending their rent money going to a half-empty nightclub.

Sources are reporting around the league that the Brooklyn Nets are going through a “in-season” evaluation of the team and head coach Lionel Hollins after two blowouts. Deron Williams is probably the number one player on this list. If not, he should be.

Deron Williams has not had a steady coaching influence since Jerry Sloan retired midseason back in 2011. During a game at halftime, Williams and Sloan got into it over an issue that has never been confirmed. Jerry Sloan retired the very next day as the Utah Jazz coach and Williams was traded soon after.

Let’s all think for a minute. Since Jerry Sloan has retired, Deron Williams career has been on a slow decline right along with the respect as a team leader. Jerry Sloan is a Hall of Fame coach who is revered as a icon in coaching circles. After the incident in Utah, Williams was never looked at the same again.

If you take a look at history, the injuries really shouldn’t be a real shock. Williams didn’t last two months before going down for the rest of the season with wrist surgery. Soon afterwards, whispers started about Williams not working hard and staying in shape. During Olympic Trials back in 2012, Jerry Colangelo went on record insinuating that he was not in shape and that might be contributing to his injury prone reputation.

With Avery Johnson leading the way when the franchise moved to Brooklyn, the future looked bright along with the signing of Brook Lopez and the Joe Johnson trade. Then something happened. Avery Johnson was fired on December 27, 2012. Oddly eough, it happened right after he had won Coach of the Month honors the month before. Reports flew that Williams had something to do with Johnson’s firing. The accusations were denied. Since Johnson’s departure, Deron Williams game has eroded.

Look at the carousel of coaches that have gone  through Brooklyn since Avery Johnson left town.

P.J. Carlesimo

Nothing but a stop gap. The man that will be always connected to Latrell Sprewell righted the ship well enough to get the Nets into the playoffs. Brooklyn went 35-19 to finish out the season under Carlesimo, but got bounced out in the first round by an undermanned Chicago Bulls team led by wait for it… Nate Robinson.

The Brooklyn Nets never was intent on keeping Carlesimo. The team was preparing to make a run at Phil Jackson who eventually passed on them along with a number of other candidates. What does this mean? Deron Williams goes through yet another coach and philosophy.

Jason Kidd

This hire was supposed to help Deron Williams get back on track in theory. Jason Kidd being one of the all-time great point guards in NBA history should have been able to mentor Williams into being a top flight point guard again.

Not so much. Jason Kidd’s tenure was chaotic in Brooklyn to say the least. Nets management nearly fired Kidd in December of last year. (What is it about December and January that Nets coaches get into so much trouble?) Jason Kidd banished lead assistant Lawrence Frank to the broom closet never to be seen again. Remember “Spill gate?” Somehow the Nets get hot and make the playoffs. They even win a playoff series before bowing out in the semifinals.Then to top everything off, Jason Kidd tries a power move to undermine general manager Billy King. Now he’s in Milwaukee. What does this mean? Deron Williams learned nothing about being a quality point guard with all of this chaos going on.

Remember back in 2004 when one of the hottest debates in the NBA was who was the better point guard between Deron Williams and Chris Paul? Now those questions are long gone as Paul is considered the best point guard not only between the two, but the entire NBA. Deron Williams now sees his name in the rumor mill daily.

Believe it or not, Deron Williams needs Lionel Hollins more than he realizes. Hollins is the best coach Williams has had since Jerry Sloan who can offer exactly what is needed: discipline, steadiness. If Brooklyn is to turn this season around, the two men who are looked at closer than anyone else in the organization are the only ones that can save themselves at this point.