Birthday: June 26, 1984
Hometown: The Colony, TX
Years Pro: 7
— Deron Williams (@DeronWilliams) September 25, 2012
Nickname I'd Give Him: Dee-Willikers
How He Got Here: Shortly after missing out on Carmelo Anthony after seven months of trying, the New Jersey Nets traded Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and two first-round picks (one that became Enes Kanter, the 3rd overall pick in 2010) for Williams, on February 24th, 2011.
Contract: Williams signed a five-year maximum deal worth approximately $98 million on July 11th, 2012. The fifth year is a player option. Williams famously signed the deal on a Nets company iPad.
Williams was not widely recruited in high school, ranking just 12th among PG's in his class, and played at Illinois for three years (leading them to the NCAA Championship Game in his third) before declaring for the NBA Draft. The Utah Jazz selected Williams third overall, one spot ahead of fellow superstar point guard Chris Paul, forever linking the two in the battle for the NBA's point guard supremacy. Paul has historically put up superior numbers to Williams, but Williams usually leaves their matchups the victor, with a 13-4 record in their 17 head-to-head games. Williams blossomed into an elite point guard in Utah before a trade brought him to the New Jersey Nets in his sixth season.
In 67 games over two seasons with New Jersey, Williams struggled by his lofty standards, noting he was "pissed off" fighting constant frustration with losing and apathetic teammates. He put up numbers, but didn't do so efficiently, and with a dearth of offensive weapons around him the losses piled up fast.
After inking- er, iPadding - his five-year maximum extension with the Brooklyn Nets, Williams is now faced with a new challenge: captain a brand-new franchise with a wealth of talent in a unique market to greatness.
A floor general, Williams is one of the best passer-scorers in the league. Despite a down shooting year last season due to his unsustainable offensive load, Williams scored and dished well enough to be the only player in the NBA to average 20 points and eight assists per game. Williams boasts one of the league's killer crossovers, as well as an elite size-speed combo for the point guard position. He's big enough to slide over to the off-guard position, and can score in a variety of ways: attacking the basket and from deep, off cuts & curl screens, and by drawing contact. His excellent vision allows him to see plays before they develop, and he can fit passes in the tightest of creases all over the floor.
Williams’ once-fine shooting touch didn’t stick around in New Jersey. His effective field goal percentage of .509 in his first five seasons in Utah dipped to just .456 in 67 games in Newark. Some of that was due to his unruly role as the only offensive option worth considering, but Williams forced bad shots and seemed disengaged as Newark's season of struggle wore on. Defensively, Williams was lackadaisical (and that's putting it nicely) with the Nets, acknowledging it as a place for significant improvement at Brooklyn Nets media day.
Three revealing numbers
1) 20-8. Deron Williams was the only player in the NBA to average 20 points and 8 assists per game last season.
2) 9.3. Deron Williams ranked first among Eastern Conference point guards in John Hollinger's Wins Above Replacement metric, rating an estimated 9.3 wins above a replacement-level player.
3) 42.7%. Deron Williams currently holds the third-highest assist percentage of all time at 42.7%, behind just John Stockton and Chris Paul.
Mired in a three-game losing streak against beatable teams during the 2011-12 season's home stretch, Williams lashed out at referees in frustration, receiving two technical fouls and an automatic ejection from the game. The Nets would go on to lose their fourth game in a row, 108-89.
From The Coach
"(Williams) often talks about being the best team in the NBA. He's a two-time gold medal winner and he wants to bring that same spirit to the rest of the roster, because he wants to be an NBA champion, and that's what I want from him. This year, he's going to average about 18 points a game, and 11 assists, and help us achieve our goals of winning an NBA championship and not just a city championship."
Notable Tattoos: Williams has a tattoo of a panther on his left arm, and a “Texas Made” basketball tattoo with his name on his right arm.
Better Half: Amy Williams (@dmwmama)
Off-court pursuits: In 2007, Williams and his wife Amy founded Point of Hope, raising funds and awareness for "cancer research, children with autism, different scholarship funds, single mother organizations, Boys & Girls Club, and a number of different children's organizations through grants and donations. "