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Brooklyn's Backcourt: Deron Williams & Joe Johnson

July 13, 2012

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—A crowd of Nets fans gathered at the steps of Brooklyn's Borough Hall today to see Deron Williams and Joe Johnson get introduced as Brooklyn's Backcourt. The two joined GM Billy King and Coach Avery Johnson for a press conference and pep rally.

Friday afternoon at Borough Hall, Brooklyn met its Backcourt: All-Star guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The duo first met with media during a press conference, and then ventured outside for a pep rally to fire up the Nets fans in attendance.

"This is a great day, because we've put together what I call the best backcourt in the NBA," said Nets General Manager Billy King. "There are a lot of good backcourts, but I don't think there are many where you've got two guys that can get 18-20 points every night and defend their positions."

Williams, an unrestricted free agent after 1 ½ seasons with the Nets, re-signed with the team largely based on King's agreed-upon acquisition of six-time All-Star Johnson. With a five-year commitment on the table, Williams wanted to ensure he'd be playing for a team with a winning future, and Johnson represented a caliber of wing player Williams had yet to play alongside.

The 28-year-old point guard spoke about how his relationships with King and Nets coach Avery Johnson, as well as the team's move to Brooklyn helped sway that decision. And yet growing up in The Colony, Texas, Williams never envisioned himself driving through the five boroughs.

"We had a great time living in New York this past year," Williams said. "Even though we have a large family, it's still a great place to raise your family. Our kids love the school that they're in, and I think we're just comfortable staying here. It takes some getting used to, but once you're here, it's such a lively city -- there's always something going on."

After a round of "Hello, Brooklyn" openings from Williams, King and Avery Johnson, Little Rock, Ark. native Joe Johnson spoke his first words to Nets fans: "Hello. How y'all doin'?"

While Johnson said he was surprised by the trade -- one which coalesced during a congratulatory phone call from King to newly minted Hawks GM (and former Duke teammate) Danny Ferry -- the 11-year veteran is looking forward to Williams easing the burden he carried as the No. 1 option in Atlanta, and doing the same for Williams.

"I think it's gonna be fun, actually," Johnson said. "I know me and Deron both are going to try to lead this team in the right direction. I wouldn't put it on one person's back."

With only eight players under contract, there remain roster moves to be made, fleshing out the bench and possibly bringing back free agent Kris Humphries to round out the frontcourt rotation. After missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, the team struck when opportunity arose to further a move toward winning that began with the acquisition of Williams.

"You know, when I first came, we talked about (how) it was going to be a process," Avery Johnson said. "Even Prokhorov, he talked about how it was going to be a five-year plan; we're in the middle of those five years. This is what we've been dreaming about and planning for: this is our moment."


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