Former Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams hasn't been the same since he was traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2011. Now in Brooklyn, Williams is undergoing an "existential crisis," according to a New York Times article published Wednesday.
"The Deron Williams they have seems a little lost, a little broken, a little fatigued and not quite sure of himself," New York Times reporter Howard Beck wrote. "If this sounds like some sort of existential crisis, it is. And it threatens to undermine everything the Nets hoped to accomplish with a $330 million roster makeover last summer."
Williams is having his worst season statistically since 2005, his rookie year. He's averaging 16.3 points and 7.5 assists per game, shooting just 40 percent from the floor and 30 percent on three-pointers.
He's also building a reputation as a difficult personality to deal with, especially after Nets coach Avery Johnson was fired in December. Williams and longtime Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan had reportedly argued prior to Sloan's abrupt retirement and Williams' trade to the Nets soon after.
Williams told the New York Daily News that Johnson's firing "surprised" him and that the two never argued or fought. But he also stated publicly in December that he preferred Sloan's offensive system to Johnson's.
As a free agent in 2012, Williams could have signed with another team; the Mavericks, from his hometown of Dallas, lobbied hard for his services. But Williams chose to re-sign with the Nets and make the move to Brooklyn.
So far, he hasn't lived up to his new contract.
"All of the team’s grand hopes begin with a presumption: that Williams is an elite point guard," Beck wrote Wednesday. "At the moment, not even Williams can make that assertion."
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