EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Two seasons ago, the NBA’s general managers voted Deron Williams as the best point guard in the league.
But coming into the 2012-13 campaign, Williams failed to receive any votes.
Question is: Does he care?
“Not really,” Williams replied Tuesday when asked about the results of the latest NBA.com poll. “I just want to win. I don’t care where I’m ranked among point guards. I’m not here to do any point guard battles this year. There’s no 1-on-1 tournaments for point guards. I just want to win.”
When Williams was in Utah, the Jazz were consistently a playoff team. But ever since he was traded to the Nets, times have changed.
Williams hasn’t been to the postseason since 2009-10. He’s hoping to get back there this year.
“It’s easy to forget about people when they’re on losing teams that aren’t really relevant and aren’t on TV,” Williams said, referring to the franchise’s final two seasons in New Jersey. “I didn’t have a great year statistically, so that’ll hurt too.”
Williams averaged 21 points and 8.7 assists for the Nets last season, but shot just 40.7 percent from the field and turned the ball over four times per contest. Granted, his teams were bad and injury-plagued.
“I use everything as motivation,” Williams said. “Always have, so we’ll see.”
Williams had not heard about the poll prior to being asked about it, and he said, “I’m not gonna look at it either.”
Nets GM Billy King has called D-Will “the best point guard in the NBA” approximately a thousands times, but wasn’t able to vote for him due to poll rules.”
“That’s only fair,” Williams replied.
Nets coach Avery Johnson was asked what he thought about the results.
“I think more than anything it may be a product of how the team has been functioning over the last two years,” Johnson replied. “Before he got here, he was on playoff teams. We still think he’s the best. So I just think let’s get through this year, see where we finish, see what type of year he has and see if there’s gonna be a different in opinion.”
Williams signed a five-year, $98 million contract to become the face of the franchise as it moved to Brooklyn and the $1 billion Barclays Center.
King surrounded him with talented players, and the Nets look like a playoff team on paper.
Johnson was asked if he’d use the poll results as a form of motivation for D-Will.
His response? No.
“My point is, no matter who is doing the polling, that’s somebody else’s opinion,” Johnson said. “Right now, I think Deron is mainly concerned about Billy King’s and Mikhail Prokhorov’s and my opinion than anything, but I think that particular polling probably had something to do with him being injured, the wrist injury, being on a 20-win team, I think that had something to do with it.
“Deron challenges himself and I don’t think he’s gonna come out and be more challenged because of some poll. He wants to be challenged because we want to be good.”