Saturday, March 16, 2013

Deron Williams back to being himself since the All-Star break

We all know that Deron Williams wasn't performing the way we expected him to when the Nets made him the face of the franchise with his 5-year, $98 million contract this past offseason. In fact, he wasn't performing much at all.

Now we know that this was because of nagging injuries that seemed to keep getting worse. He's been playing the entire season with bone spurs in his ankles, an injury so serious that he said it took him 10 minutes to walk up the stairs in his house. Though he was getting cortisone shots to try and help the pain, they weren't working. That was until he got more shots before the all-star break.

His numbers since the break have been more than excellent. In the month of March alone, Williams is averaging 23.6 points and 7.6 assists per game. The numbers don't do it justice either. Just by watching the games one can notice how much better he is feeling. He's moving laterally with ease now, something he hasn't been able to do throughout the season. He's also driving to the basket more, which is another thing he didn't do earlier in the season.

When the Nets signed Williams, everyone expected him to have a much better season than last year now that he has other weapons playing next to him. When the franchise committed $330 million to help convince him to stay, expectations grew large and when Deron struggled to perform this season and people began to question whether he actually had it anymore.

Before the break, he was shooting poorly from all over the court. In fact, he was shooting 41.3% from the field and 34.7% from three. Since the break, he is shooting 46.7% from the field and 47.1% from three point. Those are a huge differences. In 50 games before the all-star break, he cracked the 30 point mark once. In the 12 games since the break, he has already cracked 30 points twice, one of those being a 42 point game where he made 11 three pointers.

So is it safe to say Deron Williams is back to being Deron Williams? For now, yes. With him playing this fast-paced, top-five point guard-like basketball, the Nets could be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. And with Williams playing so well, this puts the Nets in perfect position to make a run and steal the Atlantic Division from the rival New York Knicks. Williams will need help, though. Guys like Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace will really need to pick up their play and help make Brooklyn a top team in the Eastern Conference throughout the playoffs.

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