Deron Williams Giving Dwight Howard a Run for NBA's 'Biggest Diva Award'

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 25:  Deron Williams #8 of the Brooklyn Nets signals against the Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center on December 25, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 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. Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 93-76.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Move over Dwight Howard, Deron Williams is now laying claim to both your throne and tiara as the NBA's biggest diva.

Harsh? Perhaps. Completely unfounded? Absolutely not. Not after the Brooklyn Nets fired Avery Johnson the way they did and certainly not after Williams reacted as he did.

Per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Williams was "surprised" by Johnson's termination:

“I was surprised,” Williams said in a telephone interview with Daily News. “I never had any conversation with (GM) Billy King about not liking Coach, nothing about Coach Johnson. Avery was a big reason I came back, because of him and Billy. So I was surprised.

“We’ve never had an argument, we’ve never had a fight, any disagreements, anything. So, I think it was more kind of what happened in Utah, people still saying I got Coach Sloan fired even though he resigned and that’s going to stick with me for a while.”

Let me first start by acknowledging that I'm no fly on the wall of Brooklyn's locker room. But let me finish by saying that I, in no way, believe Williams was caught off guard by Johnson's departure. Hell, I'd buy Howard's stance that he didn't have a problem with Stan Van Gundy before I'd place any stock in this verbal sewage.

Regardless of what Williams says, what general manager Billy King admits and what Johnson himself divulges, we must understand that this recent turn of events didn't have anything to do with Prince Deron. 

It had everything to do with him.

Are we supposed to believe this was a mere coincidence? Perhaps we are, but I'm not going to.

This is the same Williams who pushed Jerry Sloan out in Utah. The same Williams who has no sense of accountability.

And yeah, the same Williams (via Howard Beck of the New York Times) whose relationship with Johnson soured after publicly berating his isolation-heavy offensive system:

The relationship between Williams and Johnson has been uneasy since the start, but it eroded this season under the weight of greater expectations. Johnson’s lack of job security — he was in the final year of his contract and was denied an extension last summer — only hurt his standing, as Johnson himself conceded.

By the time Johnson was fired, he had lost several members of the locker room. Williams was the most obvious one, and his decision not to play Wednesday night in Milwaukee — citing a wrist injury that he had played through all season — only fueled speculation that he had, as one friend of Johnson’s said, “totally quit on Avery.”

At this point, I believe a congratulations is in order.


Because Williams has officially helped perpetuate the demise of twice as many head coaches as Howard has.

In all seriousness, though, you can't make this stuff up. Barely one week after trashing Johnson's ideals, Williams is trying to appear as if he had no idea that this was coming. 

Better yet, he's even attempting to play the part of hero by spewing some proverbial filth about returning because of Johnson, and not in spite of him.

Last time I checked, Williams returned to the Nets because they acquired Joe Johnson, because Dirk Nowitzki was old and because Mark Cuban insulted him by not kneeling down to his royal highness.

So that's enough about him being one of Johnson's supporters, because he wasn't. If he were, Johnson would still be coaching the Nets.

And you know what? We wouldn't really care if he would just own up and admit it. If he stopped trying to play the part of hero, took the team by the reins and led them the way $100 million worth of talent should, then maybe we could accept it.

Instead, we're being treated to a "woe is me" party, as we're forced to tolerate Williams' fear of being portrayed in a negative light. 

That makes me sick. 

Sicker than the 18-months worth of misery Howard put us through.

Sicker than the upteenth times that he changed his mind last season.

Sicker than the time the behemoth tried to disperse the blame to everyone but himself. 

And it will continue to make me sick until Williams finally acquires a sense of humility and responsibility and until he finally accepts his role as a leader.

We all get it Deron, you're a superstar; you're Brooklyn's superstar. But you're also an overly entitled prima donna—one who is rapidly making the 2012 version of Dwight Howard look like a selfless do-gooder.