When the New Jersey Nets made the trade for Deron Williams on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, Williams was very upbeat about the possibilities of playing with the team, including making the playoffs. “Definitely. It’s definitely doable. I know we have a lot of tough opponents, but anything is possible.” After losing the first three games Williams played with the team, the Nets went on a season-high five-game winning streak, including a win over the Boston Celtics.
Unfortunately, since that victory over the Boston Celtics, the Nets are just 2-15, and closed out the season with a 97-92 loss to the Chicago Bulls last night. To add insult to injury (pun intended) Deron Williams underwent surgery Monday, April 11, 2011, to remove loose bodies and scar tissue from his wrist, which will be encased in a soft splint for two weeks. After, he will begin rehabilitation, a Nets press release stated. He is expected to fully recover before training camp begins for the 2011-2012 season.
After a 105-103 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats in the final home game of the season at the Prudential Center, Nets Head Coach Avery Johnson reflected on the season. “Tough way to finish up but give our guys credit, they came out in the second half and really played hard. Appreciated them doing it all year under all sorts of circumstances.” Those circumstances would include trade rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony, which began even before the 2010-2011 season. Coach Johnson continued. “I really believe we have a lot of positives from this season. We have had a lot of positive experiences here at the Prudential Center and hopefully it is something that our fans will look forward to seeing next year with even a more improved product.”
When I asked Coach Johnson if the last home game was symbolic of the season, he responded “I don’t want to get into the symbolism of the season. This was a season where we were trying to get our program back on track. We weren’t very good on the road at all this season. Getting off to better starts, finishing games, that’s what we’re
looking forward to. Billy and I, this will be our first off season working together in terms of a draft, in terms of free agency.”
Only one team, the Washington Wizards, have won less road game (three) than the New Jersey Nets have won (five) all season. A 19-22 home record does show remarkable improvement over a team that went 12-70 in 2009-2010, which accounts for most of the wins in their 24-58 record this season. Still, the Nets were essentially as bad on the road this season as they were last year, when they won four on the road.
Having a healthy Deron Williams in training camp, to team alongside Brook Lopez, will greatly improve the Nets next season. Add the three-point shooting ability of Anthony Morrow, and, if the Nets can resign Kris Humphries, coming off the best season of his career, the Nets should make the playoffs next season. So stay upbeat Nets fans,
this season was an improvement over last, and, with some key off-season moves and health, the Nets will be back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.