The Brooklyn Nets haven’t gotten a smooth ride out of Deron Williams this season. He’s been attacking the rim far less. He’s shooting 41.7% from the field, which is actually his best in a Nets uniform, but would be his worst by far in a Jazz uniform. He’s struggled publicly with calf, wrist, hip, and ankle injuries. He publicly denounced his coach’s offensive system a little over a week before that coach was let go. His assist percentage and assists per 36 minutes are at career-lows since his rookie season.
But last night featured a new Deron Williams, in the sense that it featured what looked like the old Deron Williams. Williams hit threes and midrange shots from both sides of the floor, both open looks off flare screens & ball movement as well as one fallaway three over the outstretched wings of Al-Farouq Aminu after a broken play.
What was most encouraging about Williams’s game, though, was the ways in which he attacked the rim. Watch his drives to the basket against the Hornets defense; you’ll see Williams use his body to keep defenders at bay, as well as crafty footwork slicing in between defenders to give himself clean looks at the basket. Williams, who averaged 2.6 field goal attempts from within five feet per game entering Tuesday night’s contest, attempted seven shots from that short range against the Hornets, hitting three.
Williams finished with 33 points, tying a season high, and shot 10-21 from the field (4-8 from deep), hitting 9 of 10 from the free throw line and scoring the team’s final 11 points in a four-point victory.