Deron Williams is a very odd player. Whether it’s his Rabbi-like beard or the fact that he started the decline of his career before the age of 30, something is just off about Williams. With $43 million owed to Williams over the next two seasons, Brooklyn can’t be happy with his inconsistency. Perhaps if the NBA season was just played after the All-Star break, Williams would be worth the money:
This chart, courtesy of NBA.com’s John Schuhmann, displays how stellar Williams has been post-All-Star break over the past three seasons. Williams has been far more efficient scoring and passing while positively impacting his team while on the floor. The season this trend started, 2012-13, Williams averaged a crisp 22.9 points and 8.0 assists during the second half of the season while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 42 percent from behind the arc. Williams isn’t quite at those levels post-ASB this year, averaging 13.8 points and 7.0 assists, but his play as of late has been throwback D-Will.
Williams is averaging 17.2 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.0 rebounds over his past five games while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor and 57.1 percent on three-pointers. In related news, the Nets have won all five games. Williams still possesses his deadly right-to-left crossover and crafty scoring instincts. His playmaking, though a far cry from his Utah days, is still above-average for a point guard. Williams put it all together on Friday with a 31-point, 11-assist performance against Toronto.
Why does Williams perform better post-ASB each season? Perhaps he’s well rested since he hasn’t been an All-Star since the 2011-12 season. Or maybe he starts playing harder as the playoffs are quickly approaching. Whatever the reason may be, the Nets have to be happy that their investment is paying off as of late. Brook Lopez has benefited from Williams’s sudden emergence as well.
Lopez is on an absolute tear, averaging 24.4 points, 11.o rebounds, and 2.4 blocks while shooting 56.4 percent from the floor over his past five games. Coincidence? I think not. Lopez has been assisted by Williams 103 times this season, far and away the team lead, per NBA.com. Lopez is thriving as Williams is getting into a groove, and so are the Nets.
Brooklyn is all of a sudden the No. 7 seed in the East and a team no one wants to play. The Brooklyn Big Three of Thaddeus Young, Lopez and Williams has become fearsome over the past couple weeks. The Nets’ current starting lineup of Williams, Markel Brown, Joe Johnson, Young and Lopez has outscored opponents by 18.2 points per 100 possessions in 191 minutes, per NBA.com. The Nets are meshing as their big-money players are finally delivering.
The NBA is a better place when Deron Williams is playing like his old self. I still miss those days when Chris Paul vs. Williams was a real debate. Williams might not be in CP3’s league anymore, but he’s showing he can still impact a playoff team. Let’s hope the old D-Will can stick around for the postseason as well.