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Deron Williams: Dark horse MVP candidate?

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USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade said it Friday morning at his annual basketball camp when asked about the Nets.

...And Andrei Kirilenko off the bench, too.

Somewhat lost in all that's been written about the Nets off-season is all that All-Star talent has to be led. Deron Williams needs to have a big season, needs to replicate or go beyond what he did after the All-Star Game if Brooklyn is going to be a serious contender.  Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have both talked about the need for Williams to return to the form he showed in Utah. Bill SImmons has wondered if a "moody" and "sulky" D-Will is up to the task.

Chris Broussard writes that Williams must be included in the MVP mix, even if only as dark-horse candidate because of the return of the "Utah D-Will" and the addition of all that talent. The prospect that the Nets could win 55 games "compelled a couple of assistants and executives to say Williams could challenge for MVP.," he writes in a story on MVP candidates.

He quotes one Western Conference executive on the possibility: "I still think D-Will is one of top three point guards in this league," the executive said. "I think he was worn out from playing in the Olympics last year. That's a lot tougher on the smaller guys than on the big guys. So I think D-Will will have a bounce-back year. And if the Nets are as good as they claim they'll be, he's got to be in the MVP conversation."