Bernucca: At $100 million, Deron Williams may be damaged goods

THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT: There is a rap video about Gregg Popovich. Really.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Miami Heat superstar LeBron James after a win in Charlotte at which the Bobcats introduced wrestling legend “Nature Boy” Ric Flair:

“When I was a kid, I loved wrestling. He was one of the guys I loved, too. I think he’s one of the creators of what we call swag these days with the Rolexes and the stretch limos and all the girls and all that stuff. He’s one of the creators of swag.”

LINE OF THE WEEK: Danilo Gallinari, Denver at Dallas, Dec. 28: 34 minutes, 14-23 FGs, 7-11 3-pointers, 4-4 FTs, eight rebounds, three assists, one turnover, 39 points in a 106-85 win. Gallinari went for a career high as he upstaged the home season debut of Dirk Nowitzki, one of his idols while growing up in Italy.

LINE OF THE WEAK: O.J. Mayo, Dallas at Oklahoma City, Dec. 26: 37 minutes, 1-7 FGs, 1-5 3-pointers, 1-3 FTs, three rebounds, five assists, one block, one steal, six turnovers, four points in a 111-105 overtime loss. Mayo matched his season low in points as he completed an awful four-game stretch in which he shot 10-of-40 with 18 turnovers.

TRILLION WATCH: The clock was running down at the end of the third quarter Saturday night, so Hawks guard DeShawn Stevenson had to shoot, misfiring on a 3-pointer. That was a shame, because Stevenson cost himself a virtually unimaginable 15 trillion. He would have easily unseated recently waived Nets forward Josh Childress, who still has the “best” mark of the season with an 8 trillion vs. Boston on Nov. 15, even though he doesn’t have a job. But this week was about keeping up with the Joneses – Dahntay and Dominique in Dallas, both of whom had 4 trillions Sunday vs. San Antonio. Rockets guard Daequan Cook matched their non-effort with a 4 trillion at Chicago on Christmas.

GAME OF THE WEEK: LA Lakers vs. LA Clippers, Jan. 4. For decades, the Clippers have been Jerry Lewis alongside the Lakers’ Dean Martin. But they are the best team in basketball right now, and a win over their hallway rivals would force many folks to re-assess NBA supremacy in Tinseltown.

GAME OF THE WEAK: Cleveland at Charlotte, Jan. 4. In the 2012 calendar year, the Bobcats somehow had losing streaks of 16, 23 and 18 games, the latter ending today when they beat the Bulls in Chicago. Cleveland’s all-time record of 26 straight losses remains safe.


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  7. Kevin says

    The clear line of demarcation is the return from his second aggravation of the wrist, not the trade, which was 1/4/11. Below there’s some data compiled through a couple of weeks ago that outlines just how blatant the falloff is from that specific point. The guy simply couldn’t shoot after he missed time with the wrist injury. Everyone keeps pointing to his movement to the Nets being the change, but you should have run the numbers from the return from missed time in January of 2011 – it was like a light switch got turned off from that day forward.

    • Chris says

      Understood. The point I thought I made was that the injury and trade were only a month apart so the line is generally in the same time frame. I think lesser teammates are a factor (he has to do more and most guys drop off when the workload is heavier) but the injury is the biggest factor and doesn’t seem to be changing. Thanks for reading.

      • Kevin says

        Yeah, you definitely made that point, I guess I just get tired of seeing everyone reference the trade as a turning point (even if it’s just for the purposes of simplicity) when there is clear data showing that the return from missed time after the wrist injury is the drop-off.

        I think using the words “damaged goods” in the title was note-perfect, because that is the perfect description of what it appears to have gone on a here. A defective commodity was passed/sold/traded, and the defect was already present at the time of the transaction. It is absolutely amazing to me how many writers either miss this data completely, or simply brush it off as “one of the factors” in Williams’ decline and then go on to list the system, his conditioning, etc. etc. etc.

        Williams was special because he was a top playmaker, but also because he could shoot/score at an elite level. Being able to operate at the lofty shooting efficiency that he did prior to the injury not only made him a great scorer, but also opened up options for his playmaking skills as defenses had to respect his scoring ability. When you suddenly take away his ability to shoot, it changes everything. I don’t care if Deron is fat, unhappy, gout-stircken, or even a double-foot amputee; if the guy can shoot everything else can still fall into place. Instead we have to read more articles like the one in the Daily News today talking about how Williams is “burnt out” from all of the summer basketball he’s been playing over the past 2 years.

        To show such a massive drop in shooting percentages following a major wrist injury to his shooting wrist, over a period that encompasses parts of three seasons now should be the only major talking point on the guy now. Somehow you’re one of the only people writing who is even entertaining the idea that he’s quite simply a different player at this point. Until they solve the shooting woes he has had since taking time off to deal with the wrist in Utah, this guy is not going to be who everyone is waiting for…and If his wrist has truly changed him bio-mechanically, then the “Deron Williams” of the pre-injury days simply doesn’t exist anymore.

        Have a great 2013, Chris.

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