Some Brooklyn Nets fans are banking on a resurgent second half for Deron Williams, the team's $98-million point guard. Williams had an excellent post-All-Star Game stretch last season, averaging 22.9 points and 8.0 assists per game after the break.
The circumstances have changed, however. Williams is more banged up than he was last year, having missed 16 games already due to injuries to both ankles. His troubles are more than physical, as Williams has admitted that his confidence has been compromised by this up-and-down season.
“It's not my highest,” Williams said a few weeks ago via Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. “It's been tough... just being in and out of the lineups, missing two weeks here and there... It's just been a struggle.”
It probably doesn't ease Williams' mind that his team is doing just fine with guard Shaun Livingston running the offense:
||Nets Record in Starts
Williams, even with his setbacks, still appears to be more productive on offense than Livingston. But Livingston, at 6'7", provides much better length on defense, and he is often tasked with guarding the opponent's best player.
The Nets can still start both guards at once, as they did Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz. In the contest, Livingston scored nine points on seven shots and dished out seven assists, while Williams scored 19 points on 15 shots and also picked up seven dimes.
Clearly Livingston continues to play an efficient and more complete brand of basketball. His resurrection, coupled with Williams' shaky confidence and shakier ankles, will allow him to assume the role of the Nets' most important backcourt player.
All statistics from Basketball-Reference.com