ESPN Insider's Bradford Doolittle, using his WARP (wins above replacement level) system, projects the Nets' Deron Williams will be the NBA's fifth-best point guard in 2013-14.
With the change in talent around him, Williams will be one of the most intriguing players to watch in the coming season. In his best years in Utah, Williams was an assist machine, but, as a Net, he initially took on a heavy scoring load and his efficiency dropped off the map. Last season, with Brooklyn's roster improved, Williams' usage rate returned to previous levels, and his shooting percentages recovered accordingly. However, his assist rate was his lowest since his rookie season. Williams' turnovers also were down, so he simply had the ball less. With so much talent and so many alpha personalities on the new Nets, Williams can either be more of a cog in the machine or he can become its operator. Given the on-court proclivities of his new coach, Jason Kidd, I'm going to guess it's going to be the latter. If Williams can return to his days of double-digit assists, it will be a sign the new mix in Brooklyn is working.
While we can't clue you in on who the four point guards are in front of Williams -- it's an Insider-only piece -- we will say this: they’re elite. Click here to find out.
Where do you think D-Will will rank among the league's best point guards this season? Let us know in the comments section below.