Compared to what we saw in the first half of the season, Deron Williams performance since the All-Star game has been nothing short of astonishing. Despite last night's loss, D-Will looked like the player the Nets traded for. Since the break, he's averaging 22.5 points and 8.0 assists per game, shooting better than 40 percent from three.
Now, YES' Ryan Ruocco says D-Will's play is benefiting not just from the physical rest and PRP treatment, but a soaring self-confidence that had sapped the point guard's confidence.
"Injury neuters them mentally," Ruocco said of NBA players and athletes in general."I think that wore on Deron and I think the treatment, rest and diet was a mental boost for him."
That boost has translated in a a number of ways, Ruocco added. "He's become a lot more vocal. In Detroit he went in locker room at halftime and told his teammates, 'that's unacceptable!'"
The YES broadcaster also said that as the playoffs get closer, D-Will's improvement will take on a new dimension, because he will be need to play bigger minutes as the rotation shrinks.
"The Nets won a lot of games because of the bench in the regular season. In the playoffs, that's not the case," he said. "If you go up against the Bulls in the playoffs, Noah and Deng will get 46 minutes. At this point, you need starters to hum."
Ruocco said throughout it all, Williams didn't shrug off his responsibility. "What I give Deron credit for is that he is not a phony. He is going to be who he is and who he wants to be. He may not appear to be as effervescent as others but before the All-Star Game, he was killing himself, he was hard on himself. He was holding himself accountable."
Ruocco, who was interviewed before the end of the Nets road trip, also credited P.J. Carlesimo for getting the players to play hard on the trip, "I feel he has gotten very consistent effort but for the most part, he has gotten them to play hard and win close games than before he took over they would lose."