New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams has been in Turkey for a while now. He has played in six games and he does not seem to see any end to the lockout. Williams is getting comfortable in his new surrounding and with his new team.
At the beginning of the lockout, everyone seemed ready to go overseas to play. But now that the season is supposed to start, Williams remains the highest profile player to be playing overseas with the option to return to the NBA. He was the trend-setter and the one guy that seemed committed to actually playing no matter what.
Williams checked in from Besiktas in a diary on his Web site (h/t Nets Daily). There he introduces everyone to his team, which includes NBA player Semih Erdan, and to some of the peculiarities of European basketball. Unlike American professional, and even college, basketball, the schedule is much different. The scheduling is similar to soccer with one game every weekend and then maybe mid-week tournament games for Euroleague or other competitions.
This means Besiktas has longer practices which feature more scrimmages. It is much different than the NBA.
“Because we have so much time off, there is a lot of practice time, and some days we’re doing two-a-days. I’m definitely not used to that. The practices aren’t too grueling, they’re just longer than I’m used to. In Utah, we only practiced for about an hour and a half, but we worked hard for that hour and a half. Here, practice is two and a half hours and we just scrimmage for most of it. It’s just a different way of doing things that is created by the schedule.
“The practice times have been another adjustment from what I’m used to. We have practice at 4 p.m. on some days. I’ve never had practice at 4, except for maybe in training camp when we had two-a-days. Even then, it was probably at 6 or so. When we played in Belgium it was strange because we practiced at the same time as the game the following day. We didn’t finish practice until 10:15 p.m., the night before our big game. Then we got in the car to go to the hotel and we hit traffic. The gym was 45 minutes from our hotel, so we didn’t get back until 1:15 in the morning. Then we had to get up the next morning, go to shootaround and play that night. It was just kind of bizarre to me the way they scheduled it all.”
Yes, a much different basketball culture and philosophy indeed. Williams said with so much fewer games he is finding it difficult to get into a rhythm for games and to erase bad games. There is no game the next day to get back on the horse, so to speak.
Williams said he is playing a lot more shooting guard for Besiktas than point guard. That certainly is a new experience for one of the best point guards in the NBA. Through four Turkish League games, Williams is averaging 19.8 points per gameon 50.0 percent shooting and a team-best 7.0 assists per game. Besiktas has gotten off to a 4-0 start. In two EuroCup games, he is averaging 11.0 points per game and 8.0 assists per game, although he is shooting just 25.0 percent from the floor.
A solid start to the year for Williams.
The question is now how long is Williams going to be playing in Turkey? Williams is not so sure about that with the way negotiations have gone.
This weekend Williams reacted to the report that several players were considering decertification. Williams appears to be very far ahead of the game from his buddies both in jumping over to Europe and in the decertification process.
“I’ve been ready to sign a decertification petition since July? Can’t believe we are just now going this route! SMH,” Williams tweeted Sunday. He responded to a follower questioning the decision to decertification and the length it would take for that process to play out by saying that is why he went to Europe. “That’s why I’m playing in Turkey I knew this wasn’t going to get resolved and I don’t want to not play bball for a YEAR!”
Williams certainly seems to be settling in for the long haul. That is what he expected when he made the jump. Looks like he will be taking his kids to more Disney on Ice performances in Turkish.