Let’s start here: Brooklyn owes Deron Williams $63 million over the next three seasons. Fully guaranteed.
Williams is a good point guard — 16 points a game, true shooting percentage of .564, 6.1 assists to 2.2 turnovers a game — but he is no longer great. Physically his chronic ankle issues have slowed him, he is not the same guy as the one offered that massive contract.
And things are not getting a whole lot better — he said he likely needs surgery on both ankles again this summer.
“I think so. I think it is,” Williams replied Thursday when asked about the possibility of undergoing surgery. “Just to clean [stuff out], it’s nothing major.”
Three times this season Williams had PRP blood platelet injections and cortisone injections in his ankle, he also had an anti-inflammatory injection before Game 7 against the Raptors. All of that allowed him to play, but he’s not the player that used to be discussed in the same sentence as Chris Paul.
Williams was frustrated in the wake of the Nets loss to the Heat — point guard is a position where teams try to exploit the Heat but Williams didn’t take great advantage of that.
“I feel like I’ve kind of let people down, so I don’t like feeling like that,” Williams said. “I take my job seriously, I work hard in the offseason, I work hard every day. It’s just real frustrating not to be able to play how I’m capable of playing.”
The Nets are in a bind this summer, with a massive payroll for an aging roster. There are only a couple ways they can realistically improve, and a healthy Deron Williams is one of them.
Dwight Howard pushes Al Horford, gets technical, later ejected for hanging on rim
It ended up working out for Atlanta — the Hawks went on a 22-11 run after Dwight Howard was ejected, then hung on for a comfortable win 114-98.
Still, Howard found a way to get tossed. He did it two separate technical fouls in the third quarter. The first came when he shoved Al Horford after the Celtic big fouled Howard under the basket (always a smart move rather than give up a dunk).
The next came a few minutes later when Howard slammed then pulled himself up like a pull-up on the rim, an automatic tech every time.
With Kyle Lowry out until around the start of the playoffs, a lot is going to be asked of DeMar DeRozan. Monday night at Madison Square Garden, he delivered.
The Raptors needed a bucket as time ran down, not only got the ball to DeRozan but got the switch so Derrick Rose was guarding him, and that allowed the Raptors star to get to his spot, rise up and bury the midrange jumper for the win.
It capped off an impressive 37-point night for DeRozan — he’s going to need to do more of this in the coming weeks.
Kevin Hart rings bell before start of Sixers game vs. Warriors
Michael Beasley was getting back up court to try and defend a LeBron James drive to the basket early in the clock Monday night when he took an awkward step and appears to hyperextend his knee. You can see the video above. He tried to leave the floor under his own power but had to be helped back to the locker room by teammates.
Beasley has been solid off the bench for the Bucks this season, averaging 9.7 points a game with a and with a PER of 17.6 (above the league average). They would miss him in the rotation as they try to make a playoff push if he has to miss any time.