Friday Mavs Donuts: Deron Williams is Ready to Push The 'Re-Set Button'
Friday Mavs Donuts: Deron Williams is Ready to Push 'The Re-Set Button' ...
DONUT 1: The Re-Set Button
In the summer of 2012, Deron Williams spurned Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks' free-agency advances, signing a five-year $98.7-million deal to stay with the Nets. With Brooklyn since then, Williams experienced numerous injury problems, as well as disagreements with coaches. (He had those before that stint with the Nets, too.) Now, three years later, Williams comes to the Mavs looking for a fresh start on both fronts.
“Talking to Mark and talking to Coach (Rick Carlisle), that’s kind of the plan here,'' Deron said. "Hitting that re-set button, clearing my mind, clearing my head, getting away from a situation that wasn’t going well for me, or going well for the team in Brooklyn. I think it’s just a total change coming here.”
"Oh,'' he said of feeling fine physically, "it’s night-and-day. Mentally is where it took a toll as well, when you’re hurt through out the year its just like, 'Here we go again.' You feel like you’re better and then you sprain your ankle again. It was just a lot of wear and tear on my body as well as mentally as well.''
DONUT 3: The calf ...
Despite those numerous ankle problems in the past, Williams feels generally healthier than ever heading into the new campaign. With two ankle surgeries now behind him, D-Will is excited for what the new season has to offer, but he also knows what he has to do to stay healthy. ... something he's not, fully, as camp begins, a minor calf injury slowing him down a bit.
“Staying in the training room with (trainer) Casey (Smith), you know that’s No. 1,'' Deron said. "You know, put in a lot of work in the weight room and on the court, just try and stay as healthy as possible. ... A lot of (his injury history) is bad luck, a lot of its wear and tear. I’ve had two years where I’ve battled ankle injuries and I thought they were better, and then the next year I just kind of went back to where I was, so it was just frustrating. Could I have surgery early than I did? Probably. But that’s just how things went.''
Deron qualifies, too. Remember, as DB.com reported during free agency, how once the DeAndre thing fell apart, Dallas went scrambling for point-guard help and Jeremy Lin was the No. 1-desired guy on a list of four candidates? And how the No. 4 candidate on that list was ... Deron Williams?
That's a fact. His contract being structured in a way that allows him to simply use one good season in Dallas as a springboard out of here is a fact, too.
But he's not looking that far forward ... and doesn't want to bother to much with looking back, either.
"I choose not really to look at things (negatively); I had some great times in New Jersey,'' he said. "We made the playoffs in three years there. I learned a lot, I had a great experience in New York but that time is over, so I don’t like to go back to look and see what if and look back on things that way, I’m just kind of looking forward now.''
But not too forward.
DONUT 5: Self-Doubt
When healthy, D-Will was one of the most dynamic point guards in the league. Elite court vision, perimeter defense, and shooting set Williams apart from the pack. From 2006 to 2012, before the injury bug hit him, the Illinois alum had elite stats, averaging 18.7 points and 9.9 assists per game. It is that point guard that Williams believes he can become once again. But ...
You don't often hear an athlete admit to self-doubt. Deron is doing that, too.
"I want to prove myself wrong, because I was starting to doubt myself in the past,'' he said frankly. "I’ve just got to get out of that rut I’ve been in for the last couple years mentally, and I look forward to this situation. I think it’s going to be better for me.''
DONUT 6: Stay in touch!
You can find DB.com almost everywhere and be a part of DB.com in so many ways. ...
D-Will is aware of his reputation with coaches. The Jerry Sloan breakup back in the Utah days was ... well, it wasn't good.
"There are definitely some things I could have done differently in my time in Utah with Coach Sloan, but I learned a lot from Coach Sloan,'' Deron said. "I felt like I was incredibly fortunate to come into the league and play for a Hall-of-Fame coach. He’s probably the best coach I’ve played with to this day, and I had a great five and half years there, and it was over shadowed by one incident, and its kind of hung over my head since then.''
Again, frankness is so rare ... and cleasing is so healthy.
DONUT 8: See you at The Maverick Bar!
Texas-flavored burgers that are the talk of the town. A choice of beers with a list of 80 to choose from. A 200-inch screen along with 30 TVs for your Cowboys, Rangers, college football and of course Mavs viewing pleasure. And live music on the weekends! Our hangout is The Maverick Bar in Carrollton ... make it your neighborhood hangout, too!
DONUT 9: Support system
Deron claims he tries to ignore the haters (seems challenging) and acknowledges he'll now need to start winning based on smarts rather than on elite athleticism.
“That’s the plan,'' he said. "There’s a lot of talented point guards in this league right now, especially in the West, that are a lot younger and more athletic than I am now. I’ll have to use my wit(s), and things I’ve learned to get back to that point, but I think I can.”
He believes being back home (he's a native of The Colony) might help him keep his "wits'' about him ... even though Mavs fans will remember that being a hometown guy didn't seem so inviting a few years ago.
"My family is definitely happy,'' he said. "You know my mom is happy to have me back home and so it’s been great. It’s been great around the city since I’ve been here and I’m looking forward to it. ... My kids are in school and their activities and their grandmas get to come see them play, play soccer, play volleyball, if we need a break we can send them over to their houses, but there’s definitely a lot of advantages to it. ... My family mainly has been my biggest supporters; they know what I'm capable of.''
DONUT 10: Deron's helper
Deron as the starting point guard with Wes Matthews as his eventual backcourt running mate? That could be supportive, too. And yes, on paper that sounds pretty good. Doubt it? Fine. Throughout his basketball career, Matthews has been doubted at every turn. He has been labeled as everything from overrated to over-paid, going undrafted in the 2009 selection process, and now facing questions about the size of his contract. With this injury however, Matthews is facing an entirely new challenge.
“It was like no one challenge I’ve ever endured, because I couldn't pin it on anybody,'' he said. "I can’t pin it on a writer that wrote that I was overpaid, or not worth this. I couldn't pin it on a coach that's snubbed me, or G.M. that didn't draft me. It was against myself and I’ve embraced the challenge ...''
And know what Williams himself thinks the weaponry around him is good.
“I just think we have a lot of very good basketball players,'' he said. "A lot of smart, savvy guys that just know how to play the game. We have a lot of weapons offensively, and so as a point guard that excites me. There are shooters at almost every position on this team and I think if everyone can get healthy and stay healthy, we have a really good chance at being good.”
“This fresh start has definitely helped that a lot. I’m definitely looking forward to this year. Coming into a different situation with a little but more stability coaching-wise, it’s a better situation for me. ... I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself, so I'm probably harder on myself than anybody is hard on me. And that’s been a lot of my problem, just the pressure I put on myself.'' - Deron Williams.