Despite playing around the same number of minutes as he has since his sophomore season in the NBA, Deron Williams averaged a career-low 7.7 assists last season in over 36 minutes of action. While many blame ankle problems and his supporting cast, new coach Jason Kidd believes it’s his conditioning that will get him back to averaging double-digit assists next season.
Between 2008 and 2011, Williams averaged over 10 assists per game with Utah and during half a season in New Jersey. But last year he only averaged 8.7 — his lowest since his rookie campaign — and this year it was even worse.
There is a bright spot for Nets fans heading into a season where Brooklyn is all-in on a title. Williams felt a lot better last year after the All-Star break when he had multiple procedures on his inflamed ankles that had been limiting his mobility and ability to get into the teeth of opposing defenses. Jason Kidd saw it as a member of the New York Knicks, and referenced it yesterday to the New York Daily News‘ Stefan Bondy:
“I’m going to push him. I want the best for him. When we sit down and talk about goals, team goals and also individual goals, I’m going to push him and I want to get him back to double-digit assists.”
According to Bondy, Williams changed his diet and workout routine after the All-Star break procedures. He shed 15 pounds and alleviated some of the strain on those ankles. You can see him continuing to work hard this summer on his IG page, too.
Kidd, for one, thinks the change is a sign of good things to come. Looking at Williams numbers before and after the NBA’s February break, you can see the improvement: He shot almost seven percent higher from the field, drew more fouls and his 3-pointing jumped as well. D-Will’s assist numbers only went from 7.6 per game before the break to 8.0 after, but with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett joining the team this off-season, that should change.
If there’s anybody who knows about improving Williams’ assist totals next, it’s new coach Jason Kidd. Kidd dished over 12,000 dimes during his 19-year career. That’s the second most all-time in league history, trailing only the robotic John Stockton.
Said Kidd about Deron’s weight loss and improved play:
“You don’t want to take away from Deron’s freedom and creativity of putting pressure on the defense, and I thought he did a great job of that in the second half of last season. When he lost the weight, physically he felt better. His strength is when he’s in the open court. So we’ll definitely talk about that on the daily, about him making things happen without having to set the ball up.”
Do you think Williams will average double-digit assists per game next season?
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