When the season began, the Nets had high hopes for the backcourt combination of Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack. After Jack successfully paired with Stephen Curry on the Warriors two years ago, the hope was he would be able to form a similarly successful tandem with Williams this season.

But that hasn’t happened. When asked about it before Wednesday night’s 102-96 loss to the Pelicans, coach Lionel Hollins had a reason why.
“Because they’re both better with the ball in their hands than without it in their hands,” Hollins said. “When Deron has played by himself, his numbers are better, and when Jarrett plays by himself, his numbers are better.”

When Williams and Jack, who were on the court together for 14 minutes the Pelicans, have played together (473 total minutes), the Nets have been outscored by 12.1 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com.

The only pairing that’s worse among the 38 that have received at least 200 minutes for the Nets this season is Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee — a pairing Hollins has gone almost completely away from because it has been so ineffective.

“I don’t know,” Williams said when asked why the lineup hasn’t worked to this point, “but hopefully we can start playing well together now.”
Hollins has committed to playing small after swapping Kevin Garnett for Thaddeus Young last week, including starting Joe Johnson at power forward. That means the Nets will be playing two and three guards virtually all the time.

Nevertheless, Hollins said their similar style of ball-dominant play will remain problematic.