NEW YORK -- Deron Williams was grateful.
It was Oct. 17, 2011, and the Nets point guard had just been unveiled as the ninth-best player in the league, according to ESPN.com’s #NBARank, receiving an average score of 8.98 out of 10.
“Feel blessed to be CONSIDERED one of the 10 best players in the world. #NBArank! Thanks for the support from my fans and haters,” Williams tweeted.
But Williams has rarely been able to be that player ever since. And injuries are the main reason.
Let’s take a look at his Nets tenure by season:
2010-11: 13 games missed (3-10) out of a possible 25
2011-12: 11 games missed (1-10) out of a possible 66
2012-13: 4 games missed (3-1) out of a possible 82
2013-14: 12 games missed (4-8) out of a possible 34
Nets' record with Williams: 80-87
Nets' record without Williams: 11-29
On Tuesday, the Nets sent out a release that said Williams received cortisone shots and PRP injections in both of his inflamed ankles for the second consecutive season.
Given how much of a struggle much of 2012-13 was for Williams due to ankle inflammation and weight problems, you have to wonder if/when he’ll get back to All-Star form.
The Nets decided to give Williams a five-year, $98 million max contract in the summer of 2012, and he’s pretty much been hurt ever since.
Williams received three sets of cortisone shots and a PRP injection in his ankles last season. He also did a three-day juice cleanse. It wasn’t until after the All-Star break that he got his explosiveness back.
Remember this quote?
“Listen man, from walking here [on the bench] to the locker room felt like s---. What do you not understand? Like, I could not walk. I could not walk up my stairs without [my ankles] killing me. It would take me 10 minutes to get up my stairs sometimes -- especially in the morning.”
Williams did not throw down his first dunk as a Brooklyn Net until April 3, 2013. But he capped off Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls with an emphatic reverse jam, and it looked like he was back to stay.
Williams has yet to dunk in 2013-14, and you wonder, based on what’s happened to him injury-wise, if he ever will. The Nets, of course, will have to hope that the cortisone/PRP combo works wonders, just as it did in 2012-13 (he finished 5-for-7 on dunks, 3-for-3 playoffs).
But then what? Will this continue, or will it end?
Williams is still owed $63 million over the next three seasons -- assuming he doesn’t exercise his early-termination option.
He has certainly had his share of great moments with the Nets; the 57-point game against Charlotte and the 11 3-pointer game against Washington certainly stand out.
But Williams hasn’t been able to stay healthy. And that, unfortunately, is what he has become known as: the franchise point guard who can’t keep himself on the floor.