Adam Pantozzi/Brooklyn Nets
(December 9, 2013)
LONG ISLAND CITY—Deron Williams, who is averaging six assists per game, came up with a big one Monday. And then he got criticized for it.
Williams, along Jason Terry, Alan Anderson and Toko Shengelia, volunteered at City Harvest, assisting a class of local high school students from the Academy for Careers in TV, in bagging food for some of New York’s needy.
But Williams must have felt like he was back in high school himself when he was criticized for not properly bagging some watermelons. Williams chuckled about the critique and went back to bagging.
He said it was great to help out around the holidays, a sentiment shared by his teammates.
“I grew up in inner city Seattle and there were some nights I went to sleep hungry,’’ said Terry. “No child should go to sleep hungry. And when you see what they’re doing here, you believe there’s a trend that that won’t happen.’’
What they’re doing at City Harvest, the world’s first food-rescue organization, is remarkable. It expects to rescue 46 million pounds of food this year and distribute it more than 500 community food programs throughout the city.
The four players toured the facility – including a quick trip into the freezer - before bagging, and were fascinated to learn how much perfectly good food can go to waste.
If, for example, a label is place upside down on a can of food, it cannot be sold. But it can be donated.
Williams stopped by a pallet of some of the biggest carrots one could imagine. They are not saleable because they’re too big. The watermelons that the Nets packed were donated by a farm, because they are too small.
“I don’t think any food should ever go to waste,’’ said Anderson. “What they’re doing here is really needed and it feels good to come down and give a helping hand to someone that needs it.“
The Nets are 6-14 going into this week, having split their last four games. Here’s a look at what we learned about the Nets last week and what we can look forward.
SIZE MATTERS: What began as a demoralizing week with blowout losses to Denver and the Knicks in Barclays Center ended with some positive vibe.
In a 90-82 win at Milwaukee, the Nets got 32 points from center Brook Lopez, and, just as important, might have found an offensive identity.
Coach Jason Kidd said the Nets, one of the biggest teams in the NBA, are going to put that size advantage to work.
“We’re going to slow it down,” said Kidd. “We’re going to try to get the ball inside, work in and out. … We’re not going to be a team that is going to zoom up the court and try to score 110 points every night.”
That concept was endorsed by Williams, the player that has to make it work. Williams, a dynamo in the open court, said he doesn’t think the Nets system will change drastically.
“It doesn’t change,” Kidd said when asked if he would the stay the course when Williams returned. “This is who we are.’’
“We have to get the ball inside and then there also is a process with him coming back, getting him used to the other guys but also being able to use him in positions where he can be successful.”
The Nets will run when the opportunity presents itself. But it’s become clear in losses to teams like Denver, Portland and Minnesota, which have young, quick guards, that trying to match pace and baskets is not in the Nets’ best interest.
M.A.S.H.: After a first six weeks in which the trainer’s room was ridiculously crowded, the Nets are starting to see some light on the injury front: