Watch Deron Williams Notch 5000th Career Assist as Nets Take on Pistons

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams joined an exclusive NBA club when he handed out assist No. 5,000 against the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night.

Almost immediately, Williams' team took to Twitter to congratulate him and educate the masses on just how special the achievement was.

— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 7, 2013

.@deronwilliams is the third-fastest active player to reach 5,000 assists (554 games) trailing only C. Paul and J. Kidd

— Nets PR Dept. (@Nets_PR) February 7, 2013

Historical context aside, Williams' milestone was impressive for a couple of less obvious reasons.

First, it took a Gerald Wallace jumper to seal the deal. Considering the Nets' small forward is shooting just 22 percent from 16 to 23 feet this year, it's a borderline miracle that Williams picked up the dime on that play.

In addition, it might also be a notable record because unless something changes in Brooklyn, there's a good chance that this is one of the last assist milestones we'll see out of Williams.

Thanks to the slowest pace in the league, the Nets use the NBA's fewest possessions per game. As a result, Williams is averaging just 7.7 helpers this year, the lowest since his rookie campaign. In other words, baskets and assists have been tough to come by.

Amid all the celebration, let's not forget that Williams isn't just struggling to pile up the assist numbers this season.

He's also turning in an overall performance that has been pretty darn awful across the board. He's shooting just a hair over 41 percent, hasn't had the same burst he once showed and has some commentators, like Pistons voice George Blaha, questioning whether he's even the same guy anymore:

Blaha: "He's not playing like Deron Williams. I don't know who that guy is. He doesn't look the same."

— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 7, 2013

But hey, let's not rain on Williams' parade right now. He's just had an historic night.

It'll be an uphill battle, but if D-Will keeps up his current pace, he'll have a great chance to finish among the NBA's all-time leaders in two categories: total assists and total coaches forced out of town.

Good luck, Deron!