Colleague Tom Haberstroh of the Heat Index/ESPN Insider gave out his “HabersTrophy” for the Most Improved Player In-Season to Nets point guard Deron Williams.
And deservedly so.
Haberstroh notes that D-Will’s PER rose from 17.4 before the All-Star break to 25.2 since the break, the largest increase among players who recorded at least 500 minutes in both season segments.
If you recall, prior to the start of the season, no GM rated Williams as the top point guard in the league. Not that he deserved it. But thanks to cortisone, cleansing juice and rest, D-Will would likely garner at least one vote from someone other than Billy King if the GMs were polled now.
By the numbers: In 50 games before the break, Williams was averaging 16.7 points on 41.3 percent shooting, 34.7 percent from 3-point range. In 27 games since the break, Williams is averaging 23.4 points on 48.2 percent shooting, 42.2 percent from 3-point range.
The Nets will open the playoffs over the weekend, and their point guard is absolutely locked in.
In his last six games, Williams is averaging 27.5 points on 52.4 percent shooting. Over that span, he’s scored at least 29 points in five of the games, at least 30 in four of them.
In the one game he didn’t score at least 29, he had 11 and didn’t play the fourth quarter because the Nets were blowing out Philadelphia.
For Tom's full awards list, click here (Insiders only).