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Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) passes as Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams (8) defends in the first half of their NBA basketball game at Barclays Center, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Deron Williams: ‘I’m not going to badmouth Utah’

First Published Dec 18 2012 10:06 am • Last Updated Dec 18 2012 10:51 am

Brooklyn • Deron Williams on Tuesday stood by his comments that he was more comfortable in Jerry Sloan’s offensive system than in the 90 games he has played under Avery Johnson since the Jazz sent Williams to the Nets in February 2011.

However, Williams said there was no tension between him and Johnson, a former NBA point guard.

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"He knows that you guys [the media] take stuff and run with it," Williams said, "and you write whatever you write. So, there’s nothing to it."

Williams told New York media Monday afternoon that Utah’s offense was a "great system for my style of play" and said, "Is it as good [in Brooklyn] as there? No."

Williams has battled injuries with the Nets, who moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey in the offseason. He signed a five-year, $98-million contract in the summer.

"You asked me about Utah, my time in Utah," Williams said following Tuesday’s shoot around at Barclays Center. "I’m not going to badmouth Utah, I had a great time in Utah, I loved the offense. I said that we’ve had struggles on offense here, I haven’t felt as comfortable here, which I’ve said all year."

Williams averages 17 points and 8.3 assists per game, but his shooting has plummeted in recent years. A 50-percent shooter in 2007-08, Williams has made just 38.9 percent of his attempts since joining the Nets.

Johnson said the Nets are implementing "more and more stuff that he is familiar with and getting back to some of the things, a lot of the stuff that he did in his Utah system."

As much as 30 percent of the Nets offense, Johnson said, mimics what Williams did five-and-a-half seasons in Utah.

Johnson said he was not surprised or offended by Williams’ comments.

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"Whether it comes out publicly or whether the guys talk to me about stuff privately," Johnson said, "I got really thick skin and it doesn’t irritate me one bit. A lot of his concerns we’ve talked about it privately. You guys just found out about it publicly."

However, Johnson put the ball squarely back in Williams’ court.

"Really," Johnson said, "he has the power and the freedom to call the play."

— Bill Oram

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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