Deron Williams has not been the same player for the New Jersey and Brooklyn Nets as he was for the Utah Jazz. That fact is indisputable. One need only look at his shooting percentages to discover that. Williams shot 46.6% for the Utah Jazz. With the Nets he has only shot 39.6%. Yet this season marks a new low: Williams is shooting an abysmal 38.8%.
Everyone knows Deron Williams is going through a shooting slump right now. Part of that is due to injuries. Since being traded he has hardly played a single game without one nagging injury or another. But could it be more than just annoying injuries that are setting Deron off? Williams made headlines recently when he compared his days with the Nets to his days in Utah.
“I’ve really had injuries while I’ve been with (the Nets) the whole time. And didn’t have the talent around me that I did (with the Jazz). And that system (in Utah) was a great system for my style of play. I’m a system player, and I loved Coach (Jerry) Sloan’s system. I loved the offense there.”
Deron Williams is currently averaging 17 points per game. The lowest sice his sophmore year in the league. He is also averaging 8.3 assists, the lowest since his rookie year when he wasn’t even a full-time starter. So how valuable is he to his team? What is his Player Value this year compared to his peak in a Jazz uniform?
An odd statistic is Deron’s turnovers this year. Even with wrist injuries his turnovers per game are at the lowest he has ever had as a starter. He is currently only turning the ball over 2.96 times per game. That is actually one thing that saves his Player Value. Deron Williams is actually just about as valuable in a Nets uniform as he was in a Jazz uniform.
Williams’ Player Value this year is a 6.04, pretty good for a point guard. In his three best years in a Jazz uniform, from 2008-2010, Deron’s Player Value consistently dropped. In the 2008 season his Player Value was 8.29. In 2009 it dropped to 6.6, just slightly better than this season. Then in 2010 Deron’s Player Value plummeted. That year he only had a 5.7 Player Value, less than this season with him only shooting 38.8% and 2.2 less assists per game.
It’s a simple explanation. Williams is injured. After a summer to heal he will be shooting at or near the same percentages as he always used to. His points per game will soar. That will free him up and give him more confidence and his other numbers will rise as well, including his assists. He may or may not average ten assists again, that depends on his teammates. The Boozer and Williams led Utah Jazz teams were a top 5 offensive team in the league every year. It was the defensive end that they lacked on. For now, Deron has to play with sub-par teammates. Brook Lopez has a value of just 9.97–horrible for a center. Joe Johnson is even worse with just a 2.5 Player Value. It doesn’t get much worse than that, yet Johnson and Lopez are considered his best teammates and Lopez is supposed to be the glue to this team with Williams and Johnson underperforming. While Lopez is still slightly more valuable than Deron Williams, that is only because he is a center, and as I explained in my last post, centers are almost always the most valuable player on the court while point guards are the least valuable. Almost any center in the NBA, even a free agent or backup would have a better player value as a starter.
In short, Williams is simply suffering from injuries and mediocre teammates. Staying with the Nets was a questionable move, and now it’s simply looking stupid. Sure the Nets will probably make the playoffs–something they didn’t do last year–but Williams could have done so much more on the other teams that called his name this last summer. But hindsight is 20/20 and it’s too late now.