If the haters were talking yesterday, D-Will shut them right up
If Deron Williams has not directly addressed the many criticisms he has heard since heading to the Nets from the Jazz a few years ago, then he is probably lying.
Countless writers, beat reporters, and fans alike have been incessant in ripping the franchise point guard for a perceived "letting-up" that Deron was blasted for as he made the tough transition from playoff team (Jazz) to a former cellar-dweller (Nets). In the 67 games D-Will played in New Jersey with the Nets right after the trade (in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons), he shot just under 40 percent from the field, a far contrast from the brisk 44 percent he has put up so far in Brooklyn.
Also, Deron's turnovers have cut drastically from last year to this one. A demonstration of this: He committed 219 turnovers in 55 games (1999 minutes) in the 2011-12 campaign. This season, 218 in 78 games (2842 minutes). 843 more minutes, 1 LESS turnover.
Even more than the marked difference in field goal percentage, the drastic cut in turnovers by Deron has shown just how much better he has been this season than he has been the last two.
That improvement has been apparent in the 78 games he has played in 2012-13, shooting significantly better this season from the field, from three-point range, and from the free-throw line and averaging one full turnover less per 36 minutes than he did in 2011-12.
But just statistics on a website (Basketball Reference, to be exact) do not tell the entire picture of Deron's transformation from All-Star point guard to underperforming star back to All-Star-caliber player.
Saturday's Nets win over the Bulls, in which Williams played an incredibly large part in, does, however, kind of "tie together" the effort and journey the former University of Illinois stud has made in just a few months. In Game One, Deron scored 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting, hitting both free throws he attempted and two of the three 3-pointers he took as well.
To go along with three steals and seven assists (and a game-high +24), Deron led the way for a Brooklyn team that quickly ran past an overmatched and undermanned Bulls team in the first-ever playoff game for the franchise in its new home. If you told me that the same player had a similar performance in an equally-big stage last year, I would have laughed you off incredulously.
If you told me before the game? I would have bought that hook, line, and sinker. And such a statement truly exhibits just how much Deron has proven to both himself and people around the NBA that he means business now, and is the star that he has been in years past.