You don’t need a medical education to understand that ankle pain hinders athletic performance. But after watching three seasons of Williams in ankle pain, maybe we need a re-education in Deron Williams.
“I definitely had fun tonight,” Williams said, a smile on his face. “It’s fun when you win. It’s fun when you win and you share the ball. We were doing that tonight.”
Williams finished with 29 points on 10-15 shooting, adding six assists in 33 minutes. It was the first time Williams scored 29 or more points while shooting better than 65 percent from the field in a Nets uniform. Five of his 10 field goals came from attacking the basket, usually at Iman Shumpert’s expense. “I got abused,” Shumpert admitted. His other baskets came off good looks: open mid-range jumpers or three-pointers, usually set up by a teammate screening to create space.
Through five games, Williams has averaged 19.8 points and 7 assists in 37.7 minutes per game, shooting 47.3 percent from the field. He’s looked quicker, stronger, and has been more willing to attack the basket. He’s also run Lionel Hollins’s motion offense without needing an adjustment period: the Nets have scored 111.1 points per 100 possessions with Williams on the floor, the highest among Nets starters, per NBA.com.
The scary part? According to Williams, he’s still scratching the surface of what he can be. He’s still working to get to 100%. “That’s part of the process,” Williams opined. “Little movements. It still hurts every now and then when I jump a certain way. It’s just the scar tissue built up from the surgery. So I’m working through all of that.”