Deron Williams has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. After signing with his hometown Dallas Mavericks in the offseason, the former All-Star point guard was ready to turn over a new leaf and put behind him all those tumultuous years with the Nets, during which his skills and productivity regressed at an alarming rate while the losses piled up around him.
Through the first month of the season, he’s done precisely that. His scoring, field goal, and three-point percentages are all up from last season. He’s playing better defensively and turning the ball over less, and he’s helped his Mavs to the third spot in the Western Conference standings. He’s surprising everybody, including himself, especially on this play against the Thunder on Sunday night when he blew past Russell Westbrook for a one-handed jam in the lane.
Dallas would go on to lose 117-114 to an undermanned Oklahoma City Thunder team, however, showing that both D-Will and his Mavs still have a long way to go if anyone’s going to take them seriously this year. He led his team with 20 points, but was ultimately no match for Westbrook, who had 31 points and 11 rebounds, including two clutch shots in the final minute.
Williams had a chance to be a hero with the game close down the stretch, but he missed a jump shot, then got blocked by Serge Ibaka on a layup attempt with under 10 seconds remaining. The Mavs aren’t quite there yet, but it’s nice to see Deron Williams competing again.