The list of players that have stepped up for the Brooklyn Nets as they’ve rebounded from an abysmal start to the 2013-14 NBA season includes just about everyone on their roster. Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Mason Plumlee, Andray Blatche and so on have all helped put the Nets in a position to make the postseason and have a solid shot at advancing past the first round.
On Wednesday night against the likely playoff-bound Charlotte Bobcats, it was the Nets’ oft-criticized point guard Deron Williams that shined the brightest, though. In 37 minutes, Williams put up 25 points, eight assists, three rebounds and a steal while hitting eight of his 15 shot attempts, going 3-5 from three, and knocking down all six of his free throws.
Whether it’s because of health or because of him simply not being the player that was once in the conversation for the best point guard in the league, Williams has been highly inconsistent this season, much to the frustration of Nets fans.
In 49 games this season, Williams has put up just 14.3 points, 6.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 31.8 minutes per game. His efficiency numbers have been solid at 45.9 percent shooting from the floor and 37.2 percent shooting from deep, but it’s the appearance that he’s lost a step and his apparent complacency at times that causes the most concern looking ahead.
If the Nets want to finish the regular season strongly and if Brooklyn is to do anything at all in the playoffs, Williams has to be a big factor in their performance. Though this Nets team has a number of players that have stepped up, no player is as important or capable of carrying this team as the man running the show in Williams. In high-pressure situations, Brooklyn will need him to rise to occasion and not slip into his maligned pattern of inconsistency.