Deron Williams rejoins Nets' starting lineup but struggles
INDIANAPOLIS -- Deron Williams' stint as a reserve is over. Looking to shake things up after a pair of rough games, Nets coach Jason Kidd reinserted Williams into the starting lineup against the Pacers on Saturday night, moving Alan Anderson back to the bench.
Since returning from a two-week hiatus after platelet-rich plasma therapy and injections in both ankles, Williams had come off the bench in the previous six games to work himself back into the mix without disrupting team chemistry. But on Saturday night, he joined Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to begin the game.
He struggled, though, shooting 3-for-12 and finishing with 13 points, six rebounds and one turnover in 39 minutes in the Nets' 97-96 loss to the Pacers. There's little doubt his confidence is taking a beating during this injury-ravaged campaign.
"It's not my highest," said Williams, who has missed 16 games fighting through his ankle ailments. "It's been tough, just being in and out of lineups, missing two weeks here and there, as far as I feel like I get my legs back in shape, I get in shape, then I go out again. Then I have to do it all over again. So it's just been a struggle."
If you ask Garnett, there's definitely an adjustment with Williams' reinsertion with the starters. This isn't a simple plug-and-play scenario in which the Nets are basically running the same stuff. "No, it's not," Garnett said. "Obviously, different personnel. Deron is a point and we have S-Dot [Livingston] in there, so those two kind of share the responsibility. But when you have different guys in there, obviously, things are different."
Williams admitted he's putting too much pressure on himself, something Garnett mentioned weeks ago. The point guard finally might be realizing he has to find a way to get past that. "That's what I've got to stop doing," Williams said. "That's just me. That's how I am. Somehow I've got to do it."
Even the knowledge that he turned it around last season after PRP treatment and three rounds of cortisone shots has done little to help the Nets' $98-million man. "No, that makes it worse because I thought this was behind me," he said. "So to be going through it again is frustrating."