Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
There was no All-Star game appearance this season for Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, but that allowed him to have platelet-rich plasma therapy on both ankles right before the All-Star break. He ended up going nine days between games and healing up.
The result of a little rest and relaxation has been staggering.
Williams is averaging 23.5 points per game over his last 11 games and making 3.5 3-pointers per game in the span, including a franchise-record 11 in a 42- point game Friday night versus Washington.
He averaged just 16.7 ppg in 50 games prior to the break, down from 20.1 last season.
The addition of Joe Johnson and presence of a healthy Brook Lopez has impacted Williams' stats more than anything else this season.
Williams ranked 12th in the NBA with a 30.04 usage rate last season, according to hoopdata.com, but that number has slipped to 23.72 this season. Meanwhile, Lopez has a usage rate of 28.11 and Johnson is at 22.09 this season.
He's only averaging 14.0 field-goal attempts, 5.5 3-point attempts and 4.5 free-throw attempts per game this season, down from 17.5, 6.2 and 5.5 last season, respectively.
But Johnson's heel injury has led to more shots for Williams. Johnson missed the last three games of February and has only played 33.5 minutes per game in March after averaging 38 minutes per game prior to the All-Star break.
It obviously was going to be difficult for Williams to average 20 ppg again this season with two other high-usage players on the team, and an early shooting slump didn't help. He shot 39.9 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range in his first 30 games this season.
But he has been drilling 45.5 percent of his 3s ever since and averaging 19.3 ppg over his last 31 games.
That's closer to what fantasy owners expected when they selected Williams with an average draft pick (ADP) of 8.2 in Yahoo! leagues, ahead of players like Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Carmelo Anthony.
And while Williams' assists are down to 7.5 per game from 8.7 last season, that is still good enough to rank seventh in the NBA. Among players averaging at least seven assists, only LeBron James, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday are averaging more ppg than Williams, and none of those players are draining more than 1.3 3-pointers per game while Williams is making 2.1.
Williams' value is going to live-and-die with the 3-point shot -- 7.2 of his 16.4 field-goal attempts per game since the All-Star break have come from downtown. That's risky since he's a career 35.6 percent shooter from behind the arc.
But a 31-game hot streak from long distance should give fantasy owners confidence that down the stretch we're going to get the three-time NBA All-Star version of Williams rather than the guy who struggled in the first portion of this season.