It was the highest single-game scoring total by any player this season, but it was only the third most important story of the day. Deron Williams‘ extraordinary scoring effort yesterday for the New Jersey Nets (57 points, 16-29 fg, 21-21 ft) against the Charlotte Bobcats was trumped by two stories (the order flip-flops depending on the region):
- Kobe Bryant and the Lakers handily defeating LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
- Rajon Rondo putting up a ridiculous triple-double (18 points, 17 rebounds, 20 assists) as the Boston Celtics held off the New York Knicks.
The only way I found out about Williams’ game was because I got an ESPN Mobile Alert about it on my phone. Were it not for that, I probably would have woken up this morning none the wiser. The fact that Williams’ game got less coverage than the other two stories underscores just how difficult it will be for the Nets to keep him after this season.
Both the Lakers-Heat and Celtics-Knicks games were on ABC, showcased in front of a national audience. I haven’t seen the ratings for the afternoon Nets-Bobcats game, but I’m guessing it probably lost out to a couple repeats of Rizzoli and Isles in the same time slot. I’m not saying anybody that plays against the Bobcats deserves to get onto ABC, but with the Nets floundering at 12-26, they’re not exactly a huge draw either.
With teams like the Dallas Mavericks—who let Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea sign elsewhere this offseason in order to save cap room—aggressively courting Williams (who happens to be a Dallas native), it’s got to be hard for him to find reasons make the move to Brooklyn with the Nets.
Add to the equation the fact that Brook Lopez, playing in just his fifth game this season, rolled his ankle and was unable to return to yesterday’s game. Lopez is pretty much the only help that Williams has to bear the scoring load, and if he’s not healthy then Williams is pretty much on his own.
The trade deadline is looming (March 15) and Dwight Howard is still a possibility, but if Williams scoring 57 points can fly under the radar then what are the chances that Howard will see the Nets as a viable option?
I know Williams has said that he wants to stay with the Nets, but yesterday just proves what a challenge it will be.