Nets expecting big things from Williams this season
Deron Williams is a three-time All-Star and the starting point guard for the Brooklyn Nets. The West Virginia native also won two gold medals for the United States in the 2008 and 2012 summer Olympics. Williams played his college ball at the University of Illinois, where he led his team to the National Championship Game in 2005. He was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the third pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
Williams was traded from the Jazz to the Nets in February of 2011 for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, two first-round picks and cash. After playing one season in New Jersey, Williams was the face of the franchise as it made the move to Brooklyn. Williams is known as one of the fastest point guards in the game, and is a lock to average 18+ PPG with 9+ AST every season. While he had weapons around him last year, it was nothing compared to what he will have this upcoming season.
All things considered, the 12-13 season was fairly average for Williams. His regular season numbers were typical other than the fact that he averaged his lowest assist total (7.7) since his rookie year. He scored 18.9 points per game with 3 rebounds and a steal, and led his team to 49 wins and the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the Nets ended up losing in the first round to a Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls team, despite having a much more well-rounded and explosive roster. For a 49-win team, it was a mildly tumultuous season for Deron and the Nets. Coach Avery Johnson was fired early in the year and was replaced by P.J. Carlesimo, who was fired at season's end.
Williams is coming off an ankle injury he suffered this offseason, but it looks like he'll be ready for the opener against the Cavaliers. It's a huge season for Williams, there's no doubt about it. He's known as a top point guard and player in the NBA, but is in dire need of a championship run to solidify himself among the ranks. This season will undoubtedly be his best shot to do so. He has three new targets to pass the ball to in Jason Terry, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. He also has guys returning like Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. It's a roster that is deep and solid on all sides of the ball, and it's up to Williams to make it all come together. With so many weapons around him, it will be hard for defenses to double-team Williams, which would give him a good chance to score. His biggest challenge will be his ability to balance his offense with his need to share the ball with the other four all-stars in the starting five.
I expect big things from D-Will this season, as should all Nets fans. He must average more assists per game, and I'm sure he knows that. I would expect those to go up, while his scoring remains stagnant because of all the talent around him. But for Williams it's not about the stats, it's about the team and where it finishes.
Prediction: 18 PTS, 9.0 ASR, 3.5 REB, 1.5 STL.