Photo by Seth Wenig/AP
Fans seem to have a pretty polarizing opinion on Deron Williams. Some think he's a top five point guard in this league when he's at his best. Some think he's too injury-prone to have an impact and that his best days are behind him. Some think he has no heart and gives up on games.
Whether you love him or hate him, D-Will has done everything he can to contribute to this team, despite its struggles. Our very own Ali Tahir pointed out why his return has opened up the three-point shot for the Brooklyn Nets.
Let's take a look at some stats from two different teams:
Team A: 93.7 points per game, 18 assists, 53.5 assist percentage (third worst in NBA), 42.7% shooting, 34.2% three point shooting.
Team B: 110.3 points per game, 26.7 assists, 67.8 assist percentage (second best in NBA), 51.3% shooting, 47.2% three point shooting.
I'm sure you've guessed by now, but Team A is the Nets this year without Williams and Team B is the Nets since his return.
It's almost unbelievable how much better the Nets have looked with Williams back on the court. Williams is currently second in the entire league in assist percentage, behind only Chris Paul. The Nets' other point guards, Shaun Livingston and Tyshawn Taylor, average 5.3 and 5.1 assists per 36 minutes, respectively. Williams averages 9.4 assists per 36. You see it all there – with Williams, Brooklyn is significantly better at passing, shooting, and scoring. The team's ball movement, which looked terrible on nearly every drive in Williams' absence, has drastically improved.
Now more than ever, with the news of Brook Lopez's likely season-ending foot injury, the Nets need Deron Williams to step up. He has the capability to take over games. This development is make or break for both Williams and the Nets. If Williams can turn it on and perform like he did in the spring, there is still hope for the Nets. If he doesn't...
When healthy, we've seen that this Nets team can play together pretty well. It's just a shame that the five intended starters won't get to play much together anymore. Williams has looked very nice this season at the point. Losing Lopez's presence down low will make a colossal difference to how this team plays. Will they run the floor more often, the way Williams prefers to play? Will we see fewer isos? Will Brooklyn's offense shift further away from the basket? Williams has done a nice job this year. Now, he needs to find a new way to run this offense and facilitate. Only time will really tell how the Nets will adapt. Until some kind of permanent solution is discovered, at least Nets fans can know how much of an impact Deron has had this year.