The New Jersey Nets have certainly made a splash with their acquisition of point guard Deron Williams. While their game has been better, the Nets are yet to earn their first win with Williams running their offense.
In his first three games in a Nets uniform, Williams is averaging a respectable 14 PPG—however, his assist rate is through the roof at 15.7 AST. Don’t think too much into it though, as this is still just a sample of three games.
What is clear is that Williams is playing unselfish basketball that reflects positively in the performance of his teammates. Anthony Morrow, in three games with Williams, is averaging 19.3 PPG against his 13.0 season average. Brook Lopez’s scoring is up by a little more than one point, but with Williams in the lineup, he has only committed one turnover in three games, as opposed to the 2.3 he is averaging on the season.
The reduction in turnovers for Lopez could be attributed to Williams being a better passer than Lopez has played with in the past. Since Williams is averaging 4.3 TO himself, Lopez’s turnover drop must be a result of something else.
The almost always reliable Kris Humphries has also been feeding on positive returns from the Williams trade that saw rookie Derrick Favors shipped to the Utah Jazz.
With Harris running the offense, Humphries put up more than 10 field goal attempts only a few times this season. In three games with Williams, Humphries put up 13, nine and 15 attempts, hitting almost 52 percent of them.
Relying on Humphries isn’t a sign of a great offense, but this just goes to show how much of an impact Williams has had on his teammates.
What can we expect from Williams in terms of production after three games?
At first, I thought that Williams would be relied upon to carry a bulk of the Nets' scoring—however, it appears that Williams is sharing the ball with Jason Kidd-esque results. While the revamped Nets have yet to produce a win (as of 3/3/11), they are clearly moving in the right direction.
Williams' scoring and assists will most certainly move closer to his career averages, but I would bet that his assist numbers could stay a point or two above his usual averages.
There is no way that the Nets will win games with Williams being the focal point of their offense, because other Nets are having difficulty creating shot opportunities of their own.
I’d expect Williams to eventually average between 17-19 PPG and 9-11 AST.
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