Starting five: D-Will shoots a good game

PHILADELPHIA -- Deron Williams once quit playing a sport he now loves.

It wasn’t basketball.

A few summers ago, D-Will and new teammate Jason Terry began playing golf. A lot of golf. Not everyday, Williams said. But a lot.

They were both living in Dallas, so it only made sense that they hit the links together. Only problem was, they weren’t very good.

“We both (stunk),” Williams said. “I ended up quitting that summer. Not playing anymore.”

But Williams didn’t get rid of his clubs. He ended up pulling them out the following summer. And, in what doesn’t really come as much of a surprise given how talented of a basketball player he is, Williams started to excel at golf.

He says he’s been playing for about six year now -- though, consistently, about four. Williams began playing golf shortly after he’d been drafted third overall by the Jazz in 2005. He was invited a tournament in New Mexico by Kenny Thomas’ agent, Mark McNeil.

Williams is a five handicap -- the same as his coach, Jason Kidd -- and says he routinely shoots in the mid-70s to low 80s.

I asked him what the best facet of his golf game is.

“Depends on the day,” Williams replied. “Some days my short game is good and my driver is spraying all over the place.”

Williams says his favorite place to play is the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. There are four courses, one of them a par-3 course.

“It’s fun, man. It’s nothing but golf,” he said.

Williams has routinely played at events with professionals, including Bubba Watson and Charles Howell III.

He elected to establish his foundation, Point of Hope, after the 2006-07 season. He ended up having a golf tournament for it.

“I figured it was a good idea, but I didn’t know anything about golf at the time,” Williams said.

He does now. And he’s pretty darn good, too.

Shaun shines: Shaun Livingston continued his fantastic play in the preseason Monday night. More here.

KG out tomorrow: Kevin Garnett is out Tuesday night (rest), though he isn’t happy about it. He’s trying to be a good soldier, though.

Top-3: Jason Kidd wants the Nets to be a top-10 defensive team. KG, however, wants more out of Brooklyn’s D.

Stat right? The Nets hit 14 3-pointers Monday night, which led to 42 pushups for D-Will.

Tonight: The Nets take on the Celtics at Barclays Center. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.