Blog Entry

Deron Williams admits Besiktas is not selling out

Posted on: October 8, 2011 4:06 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver

A few days back
, we noted that New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who signed to play with Besiktas of Turkey during the ongoing NBA lockout, is struggling to adapt to the European game. 

On Friday, Williams penned a diary entry on in which he discusses the transition to Besiktas. He notes that its a great bonding experience for his family, that he's still getting used to the spacing of the European game, that he's slowly building chemistry with his new teammates and that he's still getting back into 5-on-5 game shape.

All interesting details. But the following was buried at the bottom, and it sure jumps out. 
The arena we play at seats 3,200 people max, so it's not quite the same environment of an NBA game and it hasn't been full yet because these aren't the really big games. Once we start the Turkish league games, it will be different, I think. But the fans that have been at the games are really good fans. They're really into the game nonstop from tip-off and knowledgeable about it. They've been great to play in front of. 
Yes, you read that correctly. A high-profile NBA All-Star who is arguably one of the top 10 basketball players in the world cannot fill a 3,200 person stadium while playing for one of the higher-profile international professional teams. Williams isn't necessarily a high-flyer, but he plays an exciting game, boasting great vision, an array of attacking dribble moves and an ability to finish in a variety of ways. He's one of those guys near the top of the list of NBA players you would "pay to see," as the saying goes, yet he's drawing a crowd that is no more than 20 percent of an averge NBA crowd.

There's certainly value in landing a high-flight player like Williams, and perhaps Besiktas has some incredible marketing campaigns going on outside the arena to further capitalize on his presence, but it's fair to wonder whether they are getting their money's worth on the multi-million dollar contract they reportedly paid him. Ticket sales are the bread and butter of basketball economics. That base generally needs to get covered if you hope to recoup a major salary investment like the one Besiktas and its sponsor made in Williams.

On the bright side, at least Besiktas is outdrawing the Las Vegas "Lockout League," which struggled to bring in 50 fans on some days. In the end, Williams' experience is Turkey is simply further proof that the NBA and its players badly need each other to reach their respective economic best interests.

Since: Sep 17, 2008
Posted on: October 10, 2011 7:39 am

Deron Williams admits Besiktas is not selling out

The games in Turkey won't sell out but Williams won't care. He sold himself out long ago. Phony.

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2011 8:22 pm

Deron Williams admits Besiktas is not selling out

NBA franchise owners are simply businessmen and there is no shortage of businessmen.  There are however a hand full of basketball players that people will pay to see and they do deserve to be paid.  All you need to do is look at how bent out of shape Cleveland's owner got when LeBron left.  LeBron to that franchise and added 200-300 million in value making it one of the most attractive franchises in the NBA.  The owner stayed and the player left and the franchise instantly lost 350 mill in terms of overall value.  Now you tell me who was more important.

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: October 8, 2011 10:41 pm

Deron Williams admits Besiktas is not selling out

Deron Williams may not have realized it when he signed this contract, but he may be the most important piece of market research there has been on this issue. I couldn't believe my eyes as I read this article, and I can't believe that they can't sell out that tiny area. Heck, my tiny home town with 11 people draw that many people for junior hockey. 

Here's hoping the NBA and the Player's Association can work something out, because obviously the alternatives aren't necessarily what they're cracked up to be.  

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 8, 2011 5:55 pm

Deron Williams admits Besiktas is not selling out

These are good lessons. Most players thought all those fans and all that money orbited around the massive gravity of their egos, not the NBA.

They ALL need to re-evaluate their worth. They will eventually have to, won't they?

Owners should FIX the NBA this time. Hard Cap, More restrictions on who can sign a "max" contract, and truly try to restructure for competitive balance. Players will still make millions in the NBA, and aren't fooling anyone about playing elsewhere.

Ultimately, the owners had to lock out because the players union was asking the players to  basically threaten armed robbery of the NBA, by pointing the gun at their own heads. Owners should tell them to go ahead and shoot. Players are easier to find than NBA franchise owners.       

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