Luhm: Nets' Williams in the middle of another controversy
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As I finish this column, it's Saturday morning, Dec. 22.

The Mayans were wrong, apparently.

The sky did not come crashing down. Our lives are still the same, unless you're Deron Williams.

In Brooklyn, the Nets are struggling. So is D-Will, who last week put partial blame for his lack of efficiency and production on coach Avery Johnson's system.

Too many isolation plays and too much one-on-one, Williams said. He's not that kind of player.

Williams, apparently, longs for the good old days at The Colony High School near Dallas, the University of Illinois and with the Utah Jazz.

Imagine.

"… In high school, my coach wasn't one of those guys who would just throw out the ball and let us play," Williams said. "We were a system team. We had a staple of plays that we relied on. We were good at execution.

"In college, we ran the motion offense. A lot of cutting, a lot of passing, a lot of screening, a lot of extra passes. I'm used to just movement. So I'm still trying to adjust. It's been an adjustment for me."

Williams even mentioned Jerry Sloan as a coach who understood his needs as a player.

"… Their system was a great system for my style," D-Will said. "I loved coach Sloan's system there. I loved the offense there."

Armed with a five-year contract worth almost $100 million, Williams sent a subtle-but-clear message to Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

He isn't happy and wants change. If it doesn't happen — well — all he can do is keep trying.

The Sloan reference, of course, shocked anyone who followed Williams' rise and fall in Utah. It was like Mitt Romney endorsing Obamacare.

The Jazz had a choice of quality point guards in the 2005 draft and took D-Will over Chris Paul and Raymond Felton.

Williams became an All-Star — the best point guard in the NBA, some said — and he led the Jazz into the 2007 Western Conference finals.

Along the way, however, Williams and Sloan clashed. Often and with increasing intensity.

Finally, Sloan quit, after a 91-86 loss to Chicago on Feb. 9, 2011. The official reason? He was tired.

Sloan wasn't weary, however. His flirtations with other jobs over the last two years illustrate he remains a basketball lifer.

No, Sloan resigned because grew tired of coaching a team with Williams as its star. So he walked away, shouldered the blame and did what he could to aid the reputation of the player who steered him onto the exit ramp.

Two weeks later, the Jazz traded Williams to New Jersey because he would not commit long-term to Utah — even without Sloan.

Today, after the Mayans flopped like Vlade Divac, you have to wonder if history is repeating itself?