by Devon Jeffreys, October 04, 2012
Just two days into their first training camp as teammates, Nets point guard Deron Williams and his backcourt mate Joe Johnson had already developed a unique chemistry.
So when D-Will sat with reporters on Wednesday and talked about how great their relationship is, only to seconds later yell out at Johnson, "It's not working. You gotta go!" Johnson just shook his head and laughed. The two have already developed that kind of comfort with each other and Deron believes it will only get better as they learn each other's tendencies.
"It's been fun playing with him," D-Will said. "I'm definitely enjoying playing with Joe. He has a great feel for the game. It should be fun to operate with him."
For the last year and a half with the Nets, D-Will was the dominant backcourt player and had to seek out his own opportunities to score. Likewise, most of his last few seasons in Atlanta, Johnson was the team's lone backcourt playmaker and dominated the ball on possession. But Deron doesn't think either of them has to dominate the ball to succeed in Brooklyn.
"I think we'll be a great fit together," he said. "Everybody talks about we both need the ball in our hands. No. 1, in Utah, I didn't always have the ball in my hand. The system we ran, I'd give it up, I'd get it back at the end of the shot clock. I like coming off screens. Now, he can handle the ball and I can come off screens freely and vice versa."
Coach Avery Johnson called the tandem a work in progress, but believes that the chemistry the two players have already developed will go a long way toward a successful partnership.
"They're still working it out," Avery Johnson said. "But the main thing is they've got great chemistry. They've got great respect for each other, and they're really going to push each other."
Joe Johnson said that he and Deron have talked at length about becoming one of the league's most dynamic duos. But Johnson still has much to learn about the schemes the Nets run, so he knows that the duo will be even better once he has a grasp of the system.
"I'm here to do my job, and that's to help this team win ballgames," he said. "I'm here and I have Deron's back 100%."
And instead of the two men being great ball handlers proving to be a detriment, the Nets plan to use it as a strength. Joe said they're like to do a lot of switching to get each player favorable matchups on the perimeter or in the post.
"I told [Deron] whenever you want to play the two or come off picks, just let me know," Johnson said. "He's a big point guard, I'm a big two guard. He's going to have an advantage a lot of times. He's a great post player. I don't mind playing off him, just as well as he doesn't mind playing off me. So I think it's going to be fun."
At the close of the 2011-2012 season, D-Will ranked ninth in the NBA in scoring with 21 points per game, so the Nets know he can score. But with Johnson [18.8 PPG] and Gerald Wallace on the wings, and a healthy Brook Lopez in the post, Deron knows it won't be all on him to score anymore.
"We've got a good group. I think we have a chance to be really good with [Joe] and Gerald [Wallace] on the wings," he said. "It's like pick your poison. I've got a lot of weapons out there, [so] let's just go play."
The Nets get their first chance to go play on Friday night in a scrimmage at their PNY Center practice facility in East Rutherford. They'll then conclude the weekend with their first practice at the Barclays Center on Sunday.
The first exhibition game is scheduled for next Saturday in Atlantic City, NJ against the Philadelphia 76ers. Tip-off from the Atlantic City Convention Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT
- Deron Williams, Joe Johnson working on Nets' 1-2 punch (Newsday, October 3, 2012) Deron Williams on Joe Johnson: 'I think we'll be a great fit' (NY Daily News, October 3, 2012)
- Deron Williams say games fit nicely together (NY Post, October 4, 2012)
- Will All-Stars Deron Williams and Joe Johnson Mesh? (Nets Daily, October , 2012)
- D-Will on JJ: This isn't working (wink, wink) (ESPN New York, October 3, 2012)
- For Brooklyn Nets, going 1-2 key to success (Nets Daily, October 4, 2012)
- Stars must align for Brooklyn Nets duo of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson (NY Daily News, October 2, 2012)
- Depth gives Nets options for rotation (ESPN New York, October 3, 2012)
- Just call him Joe from Prospect Heights (ESPN New York, October 1, 2012)