The New Jersey Nets Begin Bickering

David GlazerCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 28: Terrence Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center on October 28, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Nets 95-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Genevieve Ross/Getty Images)
Genevieve Ross/Getty Images

When you start off the season by setting a new record for most losses, it is not surprising when a player or two starts spouting off.  The Nets have had three in the last two weeks.

First, Chris Douglas-Roberts complained that the Nets were soft and played without heart shortly before they finally won a game.  He got away with it because he was right and he was not complaining about himself.  Unfortunately, he started a bad trend.

Terrence Williams came next.  He showed some promise in the preseason and has had some strong games, but he has not played well lately.  In nine minutes against the Knicks, he went 0 for 5 from the field with two personal fouls.  He responded with an infamous twitter comments wondering about wishing that he had been drafted elsewhere.

As someone who was not a big fan of his going into the draft, I would bet that the Nets are thinking the same thing.  Going into the draft the Nets had big weaknesses at both forward spots.  Chris Douglas-Roberts has done a good job of providing some scoring, but he is a slasher and not a shooter.  Williams was supposed to be a point forward who could be the Nets SF of the future.

Williams has been a huge disappointment so far.  He is averaging 1.86 turnovers a game while shooting 35.6 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three point range.  Yet over 20 percent of his shots have been three pointers.  About the only thing that he has done consistently well is rebound.  For a player to have produced so little to mouth off so publicly is galling.  The Nets rightfully benched him for two games. 

Williams did seem to take the benching the right way as he responded with 18 points on 8-14 shooting and 7 rebounds in the loss on Sunday to the Hawks.  However, that was not the end of the bickering.

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Rafer Alston has now jumped into the fray with his comments following the Nets loss to the Warriors on the 9th. "It's mind-boggling sometimes when you don't see the guys behind you doing that," he said after the Nets fell to 2-20.

"That's more hurtful than anything, is to not cheer your teammates on who are out there trying to get the job done. That's the way I was taught to do it: Play together and root for your teammate, whether you're in the game or not. The good teams do that. They stay together, no matter how the game is going."

What probably hurts the most is that Alston is correct.  Since Lawrence frank was fired, the Nets have not shown much in the way of toughness.  When teams hit them hard with a run, the Nets give up.  The losing has gotten to them.  Now with Douglas-Roberts out, the Nets are lacking a fiery presence that the team can feed off of.

Alston is not that player.  He, like Williams, is shooting poorly.  Alston is shooting only 34.5 percent from the filed and 30.8 percent on threes.  He was supposed to be a veteran presence, but he has taken a lot of dumb shots and turned the ball over way too much. 

Sadly, the Nets can and should expect more public grumbling as this team is already worn down by the losing.  Too many players only play hard when they get off to a good start.  At this rate, the Nets will be fortunate if they can avoid a new NBA record for fewest wins in a single season.