Pros and Cons of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson as Brooklyn Nets' Backcourt

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIOctober 21, 2012

Pros and Cons of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson as Brooklyn Nets' Backcourt

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    The Brooklyn Nets' backcourt combination of point guard Deron Williams and shooting guard Joe Johnson should be a dynamic duo this upcoming season, but there are also several cons that could inhibit the team's production.

    Johnson was acquired on July 2 from the Atlanta Hawks for Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson and a lottery-protected first round pick in 2013 via Houston.

    The contracts of Farmar, Petro, Morrow and Williams were expiring, so the Hawks received a ton of salary relief in the deal.

    While Johnson represents the Nets' motivation to win now that they're in a new city, there are a few things that could hold back the Nets. Their dynamic backcourt may be a little too dynamic.

Pro: Scoring Potential

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    Let's start with the most obvious pro here—the combination of Williams and Johnson will score a ridiculous amount of points.

    Johnson has scored 17.8 points per game over the course of his career, and hasn't averaged less than 18.2 points per game since the 2004-05 season.

    Williams has averaged 17.6 points per game in his seven NBA seasons. He's averaged 16.2 points per game or more in every season since his rookie year with the Utah Jazz in 2005-06.

    The Nets' backcourt will most definitely be able to compete with, if not over match, the opposing team's backcourt. Their ability to create shots will lead to an explosive offense in Brooklyn.

    There's a very good chance that each player exceeds his respective career points per game average this season. It's not unrealistic to predict that each player drops 20 points per game.

Con: Field Goal Attempts

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    Scoring a lot of points often has a direct correlation to field goal attempts, and that's exactly the case here.

    Johnson has averaged 15.4 field goals per game in his career, and Williams has averaged 13.8.

    On strong shooting nights, these statistics won't be an issue. On the occasion when Johnson or Williams, or worse, both, aren't shooting well, the offense will be in a huge hole.

    The best way to shoot out of a funk is to keep shooting, so there's no doubt that either player will continue to chuck up shots even if he's ice cold.

    This could be a problem for the Nets offense.

    Johnson and Williams are the team's best shooters. The offense will become extremely one dimensional when Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries are scoring all the team's points in the paint.

    This will become very easy to defend and will lead to some long nights for the Nets.

Pro: Three-Point Shooting

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    The acquisition of Johnson greatly improves the Nets' ability to shoot from beyond the arc.

    Last season, Williams was really the lone threat from range. Considering the fact that he was always on the floor, he was the most effective shooter from long range.

    He shot an impressive 34 percent from deep last season and has averaged 35 percent in his career.

    Johnson is even better from deep, and that's a scary thing for opposing teams to think about.

    He shot 39 percent last season, just over his career average of 37 percent.

    This new dimension of the Nets offense will lead to some high scoring contests and will be an important aspect of coming back from behind.

    With Johnson in the fold, Brooklyn can really stretch its offense and play effectively both inside and outside.

Con: Less Time for MarShon Brooks

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    MarShon Brooks had a strong rookie campaign last season, playing over 29 minutes per game and scoring 12.6 points per contest.

    By trading so many expiring contracts in exchange for Johnson, the Nets were able to have enough money left over to keep Brooks in the fold for the future. That being said, he may not want to stay too long if he sees his playing time diminish.

    Unfortunately for him, that seems as if it might happen.

    Brooks played very well in a significant number of minutes last season, but the addition of Johnson will really deplete the amount of time that he's on the court.

    Brooks is a very promising young scorer, but this new role has the potential to stunt his growth as a player. Less minutes could lead to him pressing to score while he's on the court, something that's not exactly conducive to a well-oiled offensive attack.

Pro: Leadership

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    Johnson is an 11-year NBA veteran that will provide an invaluable amount of leadership to an otherwise very young club.

    After a season like the Nets endured in 2011-12, the team needs veteran leadership in a big way.

    Even if Johnson isn't the best player on the court for the Nets, he's established himself as one of the most reliable players in the NBA. He's been a very good player for a majority of his career, so his longevity makes him somebody that the young guys can turn to.

    If the team is playing poorly, Johnson will play a role in organizing the team and keeping their heads in the game.

    Even as a new player with the Nets, Johnson's presence will instantly be felt both on the court and on the bench.

    While this impact can't be measured, it's something that will certainly be felt.

Con: Johnson Is on the Wrong Side of 30

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    Johnson is owed an exorbitant amount of money over the next four seasons (over $90 million), and he's not really in the prime of his career anymore.

    At 31 years old, there's no guarantee that he'll be able to maintain a high level of production for the remaining four years of his deal.

    If that becomes the case, the Nets may not be getting their money's worth from the guard. 

    Durability is also a question, as he hasn't averaged over 40 minutes per game since 2007-08 as a member of the Hawks.

    Johnson will definitely be the the No. 2 option that Williams has been craving for at least the first year of his contract, and likely for his second as well. It's years three and four that are a little up in the air.

    For now, this shouldn't be all that much of an issue. In a few years, the trade could come back to haunt Brooklyn.