Could this be it? Could this be the year Deron Williams is healthy? This is year three in Brooklyn, and in the prior two, Williams has been plagued by injuries. However, after surgery on his ankles this offseason, Williams looks as fit as he has in the black and white, and is showing it on the floor.
Sure, it's three games, but there is enough here to show that Williams is in shape and can play at a high level still. Per SportVU Data on NBA.com, Williams is tied for the third most distance traveled per game thus far, going 2.6 miles per game. Williams is also taking on a heavy workload, playing 39 minutes through the Nets first week, and had to pick up the slack on offense with Brook Lopez out of two games.
Williams told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com that there is some soreness in his ankles at times, but the pain is not there like it was last year. It is clear that there's less pain in those ankles, as seen when he goes to the rim.
D-Will is driving harder to the basket and getting there easier. He also has much more lift on his jump shot. 34% of his shots have come from between 16 feet to the three-point line, and he has hit on 46% of those shots. Williams is also finishing around the rim, hitting on 66% of his shots inside of three feet. In the flex offense, Williams has been able to get the ball in the post off of baseline screens, and get post ups. Or, in this case, with Sebastian Telfair defending him, D-Will can post up point guards from the top of the key and bully his way to the hoop.
The only knock one can have on Williams' game this season is his poor three-point shooting. He's shooting 16% from beyond the arc, an extremely poor mark for a career 35% shooter, but I wouldn't look as much into that. Williams has had his feet set and has had pretty good looks at the hoop. Most have hit back iron, so maybe as the season progresses he will find that touch he's had for the majority of his career.
Williams is off to a hot start this year. He's taken responsibility for making the offense work, he ranks fifth in the NBA in touches per game at 98 per night, and he has done a fine job at finding his teammates. Williams is dishing out nearly eight assists per game this season, good for fifth in the NBA, and has four "secondary" assists per game, the best mark in the NBA, per SportVU.
It's early, but it seems as if this is the Deron Williams that the Brooklyn Nets paid for.
- Deron Williams' ankles have held up so far this season - ESPN New York - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
Deron Williams Played A Perfect Game, And Few Even Noticed - Miles Wray - Basketball Breakdown