Though it took a brief adjustment period, Deron Williams appears to be settling in with the New Jersey Nets.
He bears a resemblance to former Nets point guard Jason Kidd, who played parts of seven seasons for the Nets and led New Jersey to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002-2003.
The Nets look like a new team with Williams. Though it may be a little late to be thinking about the playoffs, some late-season luck may put the Nets in the mix. However, they’ll need some help from the other teams in the Eastern Conference.
Here are 10 reasons why Williams is the best thing to happen to the Nets since Jason Kidd.
The Nets have been playing with renewed energy under Deron Williams.
The team seemed to be going through the motions midway through the season, but the Nets have picked up their intensity since Williams arrived.
If only the Nets made this deal sooner, they probably would have been a playoff team by now, assuming they played the way they are currently playing.
This energy must carry over into next season—not only so the Nets win some games, but also to convince Williams to sign a long-term extension.
Deron Williams has been the Nets' leader in his limited time with the team.
Brook Lopez is on the verge of becoming a leader and has benefited from having Williams to emulate.
The Nets have already been dubbed “Deron’s team,” and it will be up to him to keep it that way when he’s eligible for free agency.
Though some leaders—LeBron James, for instance—choose to leave their teams, Williams has a chance to prove he’s a true leader by remaining in Brooklyn.
The Nets have been without an All-Star for the past two seasons since Devin Harris was named a reserve in the 2009 game.
Deron Williams should be a perennial Nets All-Star if he chooses to sign an extension.
He’s one of the top point guards in the game and would challenge Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls for the starting role in the All-Star game.
When the Nets move to Brooklyn, it will be important for their fanbase to rally around an All-Star, or maybe two or three.
Jason Kidd had a quiet, bad boy personality. He protected his teammates and didn’t take anything from opposing players.
The Nets now have that presence again in Deron Williams.
Williams has plenty of “swag,” from his tattoos to his earnings.
He seems like the type of player that’s not afraid of a challenge, and the Nets will thrive if they adopt that attitude.
Deron Williams is a dynamic presence on the basketball court.
He can drive to the hoop, shoot three-pointers and dish out assists.
He is currently first in the NBA with a 43.6-percent involvement in the number of points his team scores. That includes his own points scored and baskets on which he’s assisted.
This is no knock on Devin Harris, who was a more than adequate point guard for the Nets.
However, Williams trumps Harris from a talent standpoint.
Since Deron Williams arrived, many Nets players are playing better.
Of note, big men Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries have been capitalizing consistently after being set up by Williams.
Lopez is averaging 23.3 points in the seven games Williams has played, while Humphries has recorded double-doubles in six of the seven games.
Also, Williams has allowed Avery Johnson to develop a set rotation that utilizes Sasha Vujacic, Anthony Morrow and Travis Outlaw to the best of their abilities.
Deron Williams brings with him a sense that he’s always in control when on the floor. Jason Kidd did that extremely well when he was a Net.
Williams basically determines how long he plays each night and probably has some say over what plays are called.
Play-calling was one of the reasons Williams and former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan didn’t see eye to eye.
However, Avery Johnson has placed the reins in Williams’ hands.
Deron Williams gives the Nets a bona fide closer.
His closing abilities were put to the test for the first time as a Net Monday night against the Boston Celtics, and he came through big time.
Williams used his patented crossover to get an open look at a three and buried the jumper to give the Nets a seven-point lead with 35.0 seconds to play, which elicited an unforgettable fan response.
He wants the ball with the game on the line and that’s really all the Nets can ask of their star player.
In just six games with Deron Williams, the Nets have gained relevance in the Eastern Conference.
Though once again the playoffs seem like a long shot, the Nets are no longer the laughingstock of the league.
After their 12-70 season last year, anything they did this year would be considered an improvement.
Not only have they improved mightily since acquiring Williams, but they have also placed themselves into playoff contention for next season.
Probably the most important reason why Deron Williams has been a great find for the Nets is that he is likely to attract other talented players.
There will be some big-name free agents available as early as this offseason and Williams’ influence can lure these pieces to New Jersey.
Tayshaun Prince, Tyson Chandler and Zach Randolph highlight this year’s class, while Dwight Howard could be had as a free agent the year the Nets move to Brooklyn.
If Williams re-signs with the Nets, other big names are likely to follow.