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Deron Williams playing better in games by skipping practices

Jan 14, 2013, 1:13 PM EDT

Deron Williams, Goran Dragic

The Nets’ move to Brooklyn hasn’t been that kind to Deron Williams.

In posting stats that represent some of the worst of his career, the face of the franchise with the new max contract simply hasn’t been playing up to his normal standards and it’s been one of the main reasons the Nets hadn’t been performing up to expectations for most of the season.

Recently, however, Williams has started to find his stride. Coincidentally, so have his Nets who have rattled off six straight wins. What’s been the secret to Williams’ change in production? To hear him tell it, it’s because he’s found time to rest his nagging injuries by not practicing as often. From Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News:

“Early on I felt like I wanted to practice so much. I kind of felt like I was soft if I’m not out there and my teammates are out there practicing,” he said. “I’ve just been a lot smarter about it. It’s just been one of those things where either you want it in practice, or you want it in games. Because of that, my ankle feels better. My wrist feels better.

“That’s a big key for me going through my head, it feels a lot better. I’m more confident, just because I know I’m not as injured. It doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t weigh on you.”

In the recent 6 game win streak, Williams is scoring 19.5 points and dishing out 8.3 assists while shooting 46.8% from the floor (48.3% from three point range). He’s also not missed a FT in 31 attempts. These numbers represent big boosts from his season long numbers (16.8 points, 7.7 assists), especially in his shooting percentages where Williams is near career lows from the field and behind the arc.

His recent play is representative of the player the Nets thought they traded all those assets for two seasons ago; the player they signed to that huge contract this past July.

That said, it will be interesting to see how long a strategy of resting Williams in practice to maximize his production in games can be utilized to such good results. Taking time away from the practice court to heal nagging ailments is something that many players do throughout a grueling 82 game campaign. It’s one of the necessary things players have to do in order to perform their best in the actual games.

But there is also a time where your best players have to be on the practice court as leaders and to set the tone for the team.

With the Nets streaking to 6 straight wins and producing an 8-1 record since P.J. Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson as head coach, they’ve seemingly not yet reached that point with Williams. However, once he is feeling better physically, I’d expect him to want to return to the practice floor and rejoin his mates.

For now, however, he should keep doing what he’s doing. It’s obviously working. Both for him and for the Nets.

  1. goraidersgospurs - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Sound like he wanna to be Iverson!!!

    • abchome - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      AI wishes he’s as smart lol

    • southbeachtalent - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      practice???!!!???!!? Practice!!!

  2. badintent - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Nets 7-1 with PJ, Raptors 10 +4 in last 14 games. Deal with it. East coming on.Where real men ball.

  3. dko83 - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Not sure what planet bad is living on where he thinks East is better than West but I support his drug use regardless. Also, D Will has become one of my least favorite players. Great player, waaaaay overrated. I’d put 5 point guards ahead of him right now, not to mention he’s a diva.

    • paintman34 - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

      agree, used to think he was one of the best PGs in Utah but since he’s come to the Nets he’s been VERY inefficent and blamed it on injuries but now everybody is figuring out he’s just a good player who was in a system that made him seem great

      • 24thesho - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        Everybody could have figured that out during the Oylmpics.

    • badintent - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      NETS WIN….. AGAIN, I WILL NOT GO LANCE EPO, West texas sucks. So does the West NBA. If the Self appointed NBA champion lakers are the worst teame in Cali, that alone speaks volume. But they do have the best drama.

    • saint1997 - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:15 AM

      rondo, irving, paul, westbrook, rose (when healthy), even Lillard or maybe Holiday (who is gonna be the next D-Will in a good way)

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