Williams has been the target of criticism during the playoffs, from former teammate Paul Pierce, who says Williams hasn’t been able to handle the pressure in New York, to the media and fans, who didn’t take too kindly of Williams’ two-point performance in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.
Hollins says Williams is not the same player he was when he traded from the Utah Jazz to the Nets.
“That’s four years ago. We’re now. No player is the way he was four years ago,” Hollins said, according to the New York Daily News. “All I’m saying is now is that the guy is playing well. Somebody picks out that he has two points. So what? He played well. It’s not just about the scoring.”
Williams is averaging six points, 6.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds in the three games against the Hawks. Atlanta leads the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 is Monday night in Brooklyn.
Williams has said he could play better in the series.
“I don’t care what he said. I’m saying what I said,” Hollins said. “You can talk to him all you want and get whatever you want. I’m talking from my perspective regarding Deron and what I read in the press. I think it’s totally unfair.”
“Talking about Deron, though, from a playing perspective, Deron has played well,” Hollins added. “Would he like to shoot better? Yes. Would we like him to shoot better? Yes.”
Hollins was then asked if he had any thoughts of replacing Williams in the starting lineup with veteran Jarrett Jack.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” Hollins said.
- Scooby Axson