Worth the Risk

A wrist injury may not only keep Deron Williams out for the year, but prevent him from ever wearing a Nets uniform again.

Joining New Jersey at the NBA trade deadline, Williams has played just eight games for his new team, missing two games to be with his wife for the birth of his child, the sixth-year point guard may sit out the rest of the year with a wrist injury

As faint as the playoff hopes are for New Jersey, Williams’ brief tenure has not only inspired hope for the future of the franchise, but has also provided some of the top highlights of the season.

Leading the Nets to a season long five game win streak, including a victory over Boston, Williams has proven why he is the top point guard in the league.

Playing in a completely new system with a different set of teammates, Williams has yet to dish out less than nine assists with New Jersey. Already with two 18 assist games and one 17 assist effort, Williams is averaging 13.1 dimes per game.

Although he has struggled to find his own offensive game, pouring in just 14.8 points per game and shooting just 32.7 percent from the field, Williams scoring average has dipped seven points since joining his new team.

More importantly, Williams has brought some energy to the Prudential Center.

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Nets are a relevant franchise again. No longer ranked last in the league in attendance, New Jersey has sold out its last three home games and has drawn national attention.

Desperately needing a player to build its franchise around as it prepares for its move to Brooklyn, the Nets sent Devin Harris, promising rookie Derrick Favors, two first round draft picks and cash considerations to Utah for Williams.

Teaming Williams with third-year center Brook Lopez, the Nets have a combination providing New Jersey a dynamic duo able to compete with Boston and New York in the Atlantic Division.

Awaiting completion of the Barclays Center, slated to open for the 2012-13 season, Williams is expected to be the main attraction following the relocation of the franchise.

The two time All-Star has ranked second in assists three times during his career and helped guide Jazz to a .500 record each season of his career and four consecutive post season appearances.

The risk for New Jersey was dealing for Williams without securing a long term deal. Since the 6-foot-4 point guard is able to opt out of his contract next season, the Nets may have just temporarily leased a franchise player.

Deron Williams provided an instant impact on the floor since joining the Nets.

Making matters worse, with the league facing a possible lockout next season, and with Williams uncertain for the remainder of the season, the Nets could have given up a starting point guard, the third overall pick from the 2010 NBA Draft (Favors) and two other first round picks for just eight games from Williams.

With Williams refusing to discuss his contract situation, the dream of having the gold medal winner anchor the move to Brooklyn may be slowly slipping away.

Armed with enough salary cap room to land two maximum contract free agents last summer, the Nets missed out on landing a star player during the most storied free agent period in NBA history.

Instead of landing LeBron James and Chris Bosh, New Jersey added Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro.

The addition of Williams finally brought a marquee player to the Nets lineup, and has resulted in a difference in the standings, but there is plenty of uncertainty about their star player making a lasting impact.

Although coach Avery Johnson and the rest of the front office believes Williams will ultimately remain with the Nets and become instrumental in making the team a free agent destination.

There is no question Brooklyn will be ready to embrace Williams, just if the star point guard will be making the move too.


 

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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