With the addition of Joe Johnson this past off-season, the Brooklyn Nets had high hopes for this season. Johnson gave them another elite player in addition to Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. They’ve played well, going 35-26, but haven’t really met many of those high expectations. One of the main reasons for that has been the disappointing play of Williams this season.
Last season for the Nets, back when they still hailed from New Jersey, Williams averaged 21 points, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shot the ball poorly, posting just a 40.7 percent field-goal percentage, but that was expected to improve with the arrival of more offensive help.
Instead of improving though, Williams actually has struggled for most of the season.
In the 50 games he played prior to NBA All-Star Weekend, Williams was averaging just 16.7 points, 7.6 assists and 0.9 steals per game, and was shooting just 41.3 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from deep. For the superstar of this Nets team, that obviously wasn’t what they had hoped for.
But since the break, Williams seems to have found his old self once again. In the eight games since then, he’s averaged 21.5 points, 7.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. More importantly, Williams has shot 45.2 percent from the field and an incredible 48 percent from beyond the arc. That’s a lot closer to the player Brooklyn was expecting to have when the season started.
As the NBA Playoffs near and the Nets try to make some noise in the postseason, Williams has to continue to produce at this elite level and shoot the ball with the same kind of efficiency. He’s undoubtedly the catalyst for this offense and can make things happen with both his passing and with his shooting ability.
If Brooklyn wants to make a run as a dark-horse through the playoffs, Williams is going to have to play like a superstar. Luckily for the Nets, he’s starting to shape into that form.