A question of leadership --who's providing it-- troubles Brooklyn Nets

Elsa

Deron Williams is the Nets leader on the court, but is he their emotional leader as well? The answer is no, at least according to one of his teammates.

As Stefan Bondy writes Sunday, Joe Johnson said Friday that the "emotional leaders of the team" are Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans, who are averaging a combined 12.2 points.

"They do a great job trying to keep us amped up," Johnson told Bondy.

To a certain extent, Williams admits that he is not the emotional leader. "That’s on me as a leader," Williams said, reported Bondy. "We have a veteran team where we should be able to do that. We should be able to stay together and not go separate ways and start trying to do things on our own."

Indeed, some in the Nets front office think bringing on a fiery locker room presence may be more of a priority than an all-around power forward or back-up small forward. And it's the second time in three days the question of team personality has been raised. Howard Beck wrote about it on Friday.

It's not that the Nets season is a disaster. Far from it. They're nine games over .500, the most they've been since the final game of the 2005-06 season, seven long years ago, and they're only three games behind the Heat in the East. It's more like everyone from Mikhail Prokhorov down to the ballboys believe the team could be so much better.

Gerald Wallace probably knows that better than anyone. He has spoken about how this team is as good as his first team, the Kings of a decade ago who would have gone to the NBA Finals except for a blown call. He's been outspoken, he says, because he wants the club to reach that potential. He also says leadership isn't just about shouting and screaming.

"I’m not a big talker," he tells Tim Bontemps. "I can emotionally shout and kind of say things to help guys out, but I’m more of a lead-by-example kind of guy. When guys see me giving 110 percent, you don’t have to shout or say much. When you go out there and point something out, guys kind of listen because they know you’re giving the effort and you’re giving 110 percent."

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