The 2012-13 NBA regular season is just two weeks away.
Due to this fact, the anticipation is high, anxiety overwhelming and during preseason showdowns, tempers are flaring.
During the final minute of the Nets' 96-88 victory, star point guard Deron Williams got into a verbal sparring match with A.J. Price. The two were separated by teammates before a physical altercation could erupt.
The bout can be seen at this link.
After the verbal battle had transpired, it appeared as if the past would remain in the past. Although Price had been talking up a storm throughout the duration of the game, many felt that it was merely a battle of NBA players looking to build their reputation and hold down their city.
Per a report via Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, however, Deron Williams did not take things so lightly.
Instead, Williams had choice words for Price after the game. Price, a New York native, was reminded of just where he was playing and whose home he was playing in.
"I hate when people just start talking for no reason," [Deron] Williams said. "That's pretty much what [A.J. Price] did...Maybe he had some boys in the crowd he wanted to impress while he can with the little minutes he's going to get this year."
"'It's my home now.' I told him that."
For anyone wondering whose team the Brooklyn Nets were, you just got your answer.
Deron Williams has long been the alpha male of the teams he has played for. The Utah Jazz were clearly established as Jerry Sloan's team, as he had been the head coach for 23 years.
In response to his second-tier status, D-Will had no qualms about running the legend out of town midseason (via ESPN.com). He also had no remorse in forcing his own way out of town via trade (via ESPN.com).
It now appears as if Williams is looking to make his voice heard in Brooklyn. Long the self-proclaimed leader of his respective franchises, Williams is now surrounded by the most talent of his seven-year career.
If he fails to find significant success as the big dog in Brooklyn, don't expect the New York media to go lightly on him.
He has officially placed that label and burden of "New York's man" upon himself with his latest remarks.
What is Defeat?
If New York is his home, it is also his territory to defend.
For that reason, this season would be considered a failure if the New York Knicks are able to accomplish anything that the Brooklyn Nets do not.
Should Carmelo Anthony and company finish the regular season with a better win-loss record, D-Will failed to defend his turf. If the Knickerbockers make it further in the postseason, the same can be said for the man who claims to run New York.
We all knew that there would be a rivalry between the two bordering boroughs. These latest remarks simply take it to another level and elevate the importance of the Nets' instant success.
Pressure of the City
If New York is now "his home," that means that Deron Williams is prepared to face the pressure of the city. Not only does this mean he must defeat the Knicks, but Williams must reach a level of success that is desirable and realistically attainable according to New Yorkers.
In other words, Williams must bring New York City their first NBA title since Dave DeBusschere and the Knicks won in 1973.
If he is unable to do so during his tenure with the Nets, consider Williams to have failed to represent his home. If that is what he ends up doing, don't expect New Yorkers to remember D-Will in a positive light.
Patrick Ewing may be a legend, but even he knows of how vicious the New York media and fan base can be. The difference is, D-Will actually has the talent surrounding him to achieve legitimate success.
D-Will Above All
If this is "his home," then what does that mean for his Nets teammates?
Joe Johnson is a six-time All-Star and has found relative consistency in terms of postseason success.
Furthermore, Brook Lopez is expected by many within the organization to become a star. MarShon Brooks has that same level of expectation, which beckons the question of how long it will take for controversy to arise on Atlantic Avenue.
What exactly has Deron Williams proven, anyways?
At this point, D-Will is an ultra-talented individual who has led his team to the postseason but never an NBA Finals appearance. He was also incapable of leading a talent-depleted New Jersey Nets team to the postseason in 2011 or 2012, posting the worst shooting percentages of his career in the process.
If he does not step up and lead this team as he claims he is capable of, it may not be D-Will's organization to lead after all.