Deron Williams' off-season commitment is great sign for Nets

USA TODAY Sports

In order to be an elite player in the NBA, one thing is for sure, one must be motivated.

Deron Williams is demonstrating his motivation to be at the top level of his game all offseason. He has gathered his teammates in Los Angeles over the past week for voluntary workouts, which he's highlighted via Instagram.

At 29, Williams is still in the prime of his career and should be playing at or better than his days in Utah, but he in his first year and a half with the Nets, he regressed a bit. Yes, he scored 57 points vs. the Bobcats and recorded 20 assists vs. the Warriors, but this wasn't the Utah D-Will. Then at the beginning of last season, he didn't look at all like the guy who regularly challenged Chris Paul for the title of "best point guard in the NBA."

Heavier, and hurting, Williams looked like a player on the way down. Then just before the All-Star game, he made a commitment to get in better shape. It stared around the All Star break when he had platelet-rich therapy and went on a cleansing diet. The results showed immediately. Since then, as anyone who follows his Instagram and Twitter feeds knows, he's about getting into the best shape possible.  This weekend, on the way back from L.A., he posted this image of a workout he had at his old haunt in Utah, xcelfitness. It shows.

Just by looking at the numbers, post-All Star Williams was a different player than pre-All Star Williams. Before the break, Williams was averaging 16 points and 7 assists on 41% shooting.

After the break, though, Williams mirrored his former self. He posted splits of 22 points and 8 assists on 48% shooting, 41% from beyond the arc. He was quicker, leaner and his play showed it.

Williams seems determined to earn back the title as "best point guard in the NBA." Judging by the way he looks, Williams second half of last season should be just a preview of what's to come in 2013-2014. If so, the Nets seem to be on the right track.

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