Name: Deron Williams
Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 210-pounds
Age: 29 | Years in the NBA: 8
Contract: Four years and $81.6 million remaining
2012/13 Stats: 18.7 PTS, 7.7 AST, 2.9 TRB per 36 minutes, 51.6 eFG%
OUTLOOK: D-Will’s arrival on the Nets in 2010-11, along with the emergence of Brook Lopez, helped to form the core of the transformation from the lowly New Jersey Nets to the powerhouse Brooklyn Nets. He was hurt throughout most of last season with a couple of ankle injuries and it really limited what the did overall. For the Nets to take that next step this season, he’s going to be the key as they will only go as far as he can take them. Is he up to the task?
THE ANKLE: The ankle has been an issue for Williams since he played in the Olympics a year and a half ago. He needed multiple cortisone shots last season before felt any relief. Once he finally did feel better, he showed it on the court as he went from 16.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game with an eFG of 48.0 percent at the All-Star break to averaging 22.9 points with 8.0 rebounds and an eFG% of 56.9 after. The ankle is hurt again and he missed most of the preseason, but it isn’t expected to be as serious. Still, putting that behind him should make a huge difference in his season so hopefully it doesn’t linger.
A NEW COACH: He’ll deny this, but Deron Williams is a bit of a coach killer. He pushed Jerry Sloan to the brink in Utah until he eventually quit and was vocal about his displeasure of Avery Johnson the week before he got fired last year. This season he’s got Jason Kidd as the coach and if Kidd, who is considered to be one of the game’s best point guards ever, can’t coach D-Will it’s possible that nobody can. He’s going to have every opportunity to be the kind of point guard that he wants to be under Kidd’s tutelage and there will be no more excuses.
LOTS OF OPTIONS: Aside from a new point guard-friendly coach, D-Will also has tons of options this year as they upgraded their two biggest weak points from a year ago, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. So basically, D-Will now has four scoring threats with him on the court at all times. Even the bench players are solid this year. This is the perfect situation for a point guard which is why multiple people, including J-Kidd and Pierce, have said that he could be taking home a MVP trophy this year.
GET THE SHOT BACK: When D-Will was at his best he shot 48.3 percent from the floor, but since he joined the he’s down to 42.5 percent. The reason, he said, is because he’s had bone fragments in his wrist. Apparently that is all cleared up now though and he should be back to his old self. At least that’s what he says. We’ll have to wait and see if his shot improves.
PREDICTION: This is potentially the hardest player to predict because of his health, both the ankle and the wrist, as well as the fact that he relies on other players as well. If he, Lopez, and most of the other important players can stay healthy this year, he could have a monster season. He’s also got a lot riding on the success of Jason Kidd as the new head coach. I’d say that last year’s numbers are a worst-case scenario, but that he has some pretty amazing potential this year.