Deron Williams has turned to a new chapter in his NBA journey, now with several games under his belt as a Cleveland Cavalier.
After a two-week layoff since his last game as a Dallas Mavericks, Deron made his debut in the wine and gold on the road on March 1 against the Boston Celtics. He’s been settling into his role over the past two weeks, and as his performance showed in Saturday night’s win at the Orlando Magic, No. 31 is starting to click in his new home.
“I played 24 minutes that first night, then right into a back-to-back. It took some time to adjust,” Deron told the Akron Beacon Journal. “I definitely feel a lot better just playing and getting some treatment and things like that have helped my body feel a lot better in the last couple games.”
D-Will came through with one of his his best games as a Cav: 10 points, four assists and a rebound, playing an integral part off the bench in Cleveland’s critical 114-106 win.
“He was great. Starting to get his legs,” Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said of D-Will. “His passes are right on time every single time … when to make the pass, the right pass, the right play. That’s just who he is. Now he’s starting to shoot the basketball well, taking his shots. He’s coming along really well.”
WILL THE REAL D-WILL PLEASE STAND UP?
When Deron signed in The Land, it created a log-jam—not on the depth chart, but on the nickname chart. Forward Derrick Williams, who also goes by D-Will, joined the Cavs in early February.
But Deron’s fellow Team USA Olympic Gold medalist LeBron James cleared that up right from the start.
“We’re figuring that out,” James said of the Derrick Williams’ nickname situation. “He’s been bumped because he’s younger than D-Will, but we got to figure out his new nickname.”
An Olympic teammate of Deron’s, as well as a longtime Eastern Conference adversary, LeBron knows full well just how dangerous Cleveland’s new No. 2 point guard can be.
“He’s run a franchise, multiple franchises before, so you know he knows how to run a ball club,” James said. “He’s played in big games before so you know he won’t shy away in the moment. And he can knock down shots and he can play make.”
DERON GIVES CAVS AN “EDGE THEY’VE NEVER HAD”
“Right down to his skill set, pedigree and experience, Deron Williams is the exact type of player LeBron James has begged the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire: a reliable playmaker who puts James’ mind at ease, lessens his load and reduces his minutes.”
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Mar. 14)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (43-22)
- Boston Celtics (42-25) 2 GB
- Washington Wizards (41-25) 2.5 GB
- Toronto Raptors (39-27) 5 GB
- Atlanta Hawks (37-30) 7 GB
- Indiana Pacers (34-32) 9.5 GB
- Detroit Pistons (33-33) 10.5 GB
- Milwaukee Bucks (32-34) 11.5 GB
The Cavs have two critical midweek games ahead, both to be nationally televised on NBATV. Thursday, D-Will and Co. host the Detroit Pistons with the opportunity to gain ground in the Eastern Conference.
Then on Thursday, Deron plays against his the franchise that selected him No. 3 overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz.
Both games are set for 7 p.m. ET tipoffs.
- LeBron James’ gesture in Deron Williams’ Cavaliers debut misses the basket, but not the mark (Akron Beacon Journal, Mar. 2, 2017)
- Deron Williams Gives Cleveland Cavaliers an Edge They’ve Never Had (Bleacher Report, Mar. 2, 2017)
- Deron Williams shows value as playmaker in Friday night win (Cleveland.com, Mar. 4, 2017)
- Deron Williams on choosing Cavaliers: ‘I felt like this was the best fit for me’ (Cleveland.com, Feb. 27, 2017)
- Deron Williams excited for Cavaliers debut (ESPN, Mar. 1, 2017)