C.J. Watson Feels New Buzz, New Energy in Brooklyn
July 24, 2012
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Tuesday at the PNY Center, guard C.J. Watson met the media for the first time as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Heading into his sixth season, the veteran guard said calls from Deron Williams and Avery Johnson ultimately swayed his decision.
C.J. Watson had other offers, but when the Brooklyn Nets went "out of their way" to sway his decision, he opted to join a franchise he feels has a new buzz, new focus and new energy as it heads toward the September 28 opening of Barclays Center.
"(Deron Williams) and Avery Johnson called me, just expressing their interest," Watson told media Tuesday at the PNY Center in East Rutherford, N.J. "Telling me how much they wanted me to be here was a big thing for me to sign. I played with Deron before in 2002 with USA during college, so it was big of him to call and express his interest, and that was probably the deciding factor."
Watson feels the Nets' roster doesn't lack for anything, and that the team can do "something big" during this first season in Brooklyn. Johnson's up-tempo system enticed him, as did the coach's willingness to play point guards alongside Williams, as Jordan Farmar often did last season.
Coming off his second season with the Bulls, Watson averaged 9.7 points and 4.1 assists in 49 games (25 starts) last year as part of the team's vaunted "Bench Mob." He shot a career-best .393 from three-point range, and hopes to re-create similar success in Brooklyn, though he knows it will take time.
"We have to be good, for one," Watson said. "We've got to play well and our starters have to do what they do and the bench has to come in and back the starters up and play well. I think that was the main thing in Chicago -- our starters were great and then our bench also did a good job and won a lot of games for us. So long as our chemistry is good and we start to click, we'll just go from there."
Watson went undrafted in 2006, playing a year in Italy before joining the NBA D-League. After 16 games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Watson earned a Call-Up to the Golden State Warriors, where he latched on and played three seasons.
After a sign-and-trade deal sent him to the Bulls, Watson established himself as a strong backup to star point guard Derrick Rose, whom he believes is a "pick your poison" toss-up with Williams when it comes to lead guards. Five years into his NBA career, Watson appreciated the attention he received once the Bulls waived him two weeks ago.
"It shows the hard work I put in and people have noticed it," Watson said. "I didn't get drafted, but just kept working and working. Went overseas to the D-League, just tried to make it happen, tried to make the dream come true and I'm here and I just want to make the best out of it."