Deron Williams 'shocked' by firing of Avery Johnson
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"I was shocked. I didn't expect it," Williams said Friday. "I was over there riding the bike, and Billy came in and told me he let Avery go, and it caught me off guard because he was just coach of the month last month."
Williams said he felt partially responsible for Johnson's firing, but that's more because of his struggling play. He said no one ever checked with him before the team severed ties with Johnson after two-plus seasons.
"I don't feel responsible as far as I never was consulted," said Williams, who added that he texted Johnson on Thursday upon learning the news. "Nobody ever asked me what they should do with Avery. If they would've asked me, I would've said he needs to be our coach because he was a big reason why I stayed here.
"But as far as responsibility, I feel if I would have played better that we would have won a lot more games and he would still be here."
That, Williams said, is what makes Johnson's dismissal tough to stomach. If his production had not been down, Johnson's job wouldn't have been in jeopardy. After contributing 19 points and two assists in a 97-81 victory over Charlotte on Friday night, Williams is averaging 16.6 points and 7.8 assists and shooting 40.2 percent, 30.5 percent from three-point range.
"Yeah, definitely," he said. "Nobody feels worse about the way I've been playing than me. Every day I go home, I've been just trying to figure out how to get it going, how to play like I'm used to playing and how I used to play, and it just hasn't clicked yet. My confidence is gone right now. I just have to play my way out of it, fight my way out of it.
"It definitely was a sad day yesterday for everybody, for the organization, because we all appreciated what Coach brought to this team, his work ethic. He's one of the hardest-working coaches I've ever been around as far as his preparation for games, getting us prepared. The time he spent watching tape on the plane, we saw all of that stuff."
Still, there are those who believe Williams is one of the main reasons Johnson is gone.
"That's how things go nowadays," Williams said. "As soon as something happens, somebody has to take the blame, and I guess that guy is me. I can't fight everything that's being said and I'm not going to try. I know my teammates have my back, and like I said, I wanted to be here with coach Avery.
"I've said it many times. He's a big reason I came back here. I wouldn't have came back here if I didn't like him as a coach because I knew he was going to be my coach, I thought he was going to be my coach."