Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams has responded to former teammate Paul Pierce’s criticism of him after saying that the pressure in New York affected him.
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Pierce wasn’t shy about assessing his time in Brooklyn earlier this week, describing it as “horrible” as he was shocked that both he and Kevin Garnett had to push the other players when he expected it to be the other way around.
He reserved a special mention for Williams who he believes was affected by the pressure of playing in a big market and that showed in his performances on the court as he went from an MVP candidate to struggling to make the starting line-up.
Pierce was adamant that the team would have folded if neither he nor Garnett were there to hold it together, but Williams isn’t too bothered by his comments as he now looks ahead to playing in the playoffs this year.
“Being here, I got pretty thick skin,” Williams said, according to ESPN.
“He has his opinions, and that’s fine. It’s what it is. I can’t change his opinions. So just leave it at that.”
The former Utah Jazz star put up 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, which coupled with the Indiana Pacers’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies meant that the Nets made the post-season in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
While Joe Johnson chuckled and agreed with Pierce’s assessment of him being too quiet, it appears as though it could have a different effect on Brooklyn’s 30-year-old point guard who will be out to prove a point for himself that he can deal with the pressure and lead this team to a deep playoff run.
Despite a poor start to the campaign last year, the Nets recovered well under Jason Kidd to make the playoffs only to fall to the Miami Heat in the second round. They start their playoff run against the Atlanta Hawks this weekend hoping to at least make progress and go further in their pursuit of a championship.