Is Deron Williams a Problem or a Solution for the Brooklyn Nets?

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIJanuary 3, 2013

Dec 31, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams (8) brings the ball up court during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Deron Williams has been the topic of much controversy thus far in the 2012-13 season, and a ton of the blame for the inconsistencies of the Brooklyn Nets has been placed on his shoulders.

Williams has indeed been a problem for the Nets—for various different reasons. Fans shouldn't jump aboard the hate-train just yet, though, as he's also a part of the potential solution. If he gets it going, the Nets will hit a hot streak.

First, the bad.

This has been the worst season of Williams' career in terms of per-game numbers. Through 30 games, he's only averaging 16.3 points and 7.5 assists. He's shooting just 39.9 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep.

Immense amounts of pressure were placed upon him and the rest of the Nets entering the season, as their new arena, new name and new roster were sure to cause excitement around the league.

Brooklyn has been mired by mediocrity thus far (17-15 on the season), and Williams' struggles have been a huge cause of the problem.

Without his usual dynamic self, the Nets are supremely lacking in the superstar category. He's currently performing just like a "really good" player and not the "superstar" player that he's supposed to be.

While unfair to expect from a vast majority of the league, the Nets were thoroughly expecting 20 points and 10 assists per game out of Williams this season. With the supporting cast around him, nearly everyone figured he'd be in for a monster season.

Instead, he's done exactly the opposite.

Williams liked to blame his struggles on ex-head coach Avery Johnson and his coaching style, though he no longer has that excuse.

Johnson was fired last week and replaced by P.J. Carlesimo, but Williams claimed to be "surprised" by the move at head coach.

Adjusting midseason to a new coach is no easy task (though the Nets just handled the Oklahoma City Thunder with relative ease), so Williams could prove to be a problem yet again if this move backfires on general manager Billy King.

It does bear noting that against the Thunder, Williams had a great game. He racked up 13 assists and 19 points while compiling a plus/minus differential of plus-18.

Maybe Carlesimo could be what gets Williams going offensively. Maybe another head coach could be the answer—see the Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Kelvin Sampson, etc. rumors.

Whoever it is, Williams' track record suggests that he will pick it up eventually.

His career numbers are very impressive, even after taking a slight hit with his current marks. In eight career seasons, Williams has averaged 17.5 points per game with 9.1 assists per and a shooting percentage of 45.2.

These numbers give him the potential to be the motor that makes the Nets go when everything starts to click at the right time.

Brook Lopez is playing very well (22.6 points per game) and Joe Johnson is finally starting to pick it up (33 points against Oklahoma City). With weapons around him, Williams can lead a very talented team to a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

That should be motivation enough to pick up his production.

If nothing else, he should want to silence his doubters and prove that he is the superstar who many believed him to be entering the season.

Currently, Williams is one of the problems in Brooklyn (it's unfair to call him the only problem). A month from now, we may be talking about Williams as the savior of the Nets.

Stay tuned.