In the Nets success in 2014, Deron Williams has been playing off the bench for a significant amount of games, and he has been successful, however, is Deron Williams too good of a player to start the game on the pine?
Deron Williams was pulled out of the lineup on January 6th, after re-injuring his ankle in the previous game. Williams returned to action on January 20th against the New York Knicks. The Illinois product missed five games and in that time, Shaun Livingston acted as starting point guard, and showed just how good he still is. Livingston helped to propel the Nets to a 4-1 record in Williams’ absence. However, all this success cannot be attributed to Livingston as the Nets as a whole have been a much better team in the New Year. During the five game stint in Williams’ absence, Livingston’s numbers looked like this: 11.6 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, 2.2 assists per game, and 2 steals per game. While these stats may not be eye-popping, Livingston’s length and defensive impact are irreplaceable for the Nets.
Williams has transformed from a scorer to a distributor when playing off the bench. This is a good thing for the Nets, and Andray Blatche has thrived playing alongside Williams off the bench. However, the most important place to be successful is the starting unit. That is why Williams should be in the starting lineup.
However, just because Williams should be in the starting lineup does not mean Shaun Livingston shouldn’t be benched. Coach Kidd has experimented with a dual point guard lineup before, and it has been relatively successful. Livingston is just too much of a menace on the defensive end. Putting Deron Williams at shooting guard allows him to be a spot up shooter. Livingston should be defending the superior backcourt player of the opposing team.
In conclusion, the Nets should yank Alan Anderson out of the starting lineup, and run a dual point guard lineup with Livingston at the one, and Williams at the two.