There was a time when playing for the Nets was enough to call it a career, and that was nearly the case for NBA veteran Deron Williams. As the team moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, Williams played like a defeated man with the Nets before landing in Dallas this season. Now he is playing with a bit more of a spark for the Mavericks.
Williams is averaging 15.1 points per game through the first 25 games of the season, which seems to be reversing a downward trend Williams played through the past three seasons with the Nets. In an interview with Yahoo, Williams suggested the past three seasons with the Nets were a grind that seemed to wear him down.
“It took a lot out of me, man, those three years. Some of the hardest in my life,” Williams said of his last few years with the Nets as they moved into Brooklyn. “Made me question if I even wanted to play basketball when I was done with that contract.”
Williams also conceded he may not have had the personality to play in the New York market. Players in all sports are challenged with the demands on playing, and thriving, in New York just as they are in other east coast markets like Boston and Philadelphia. When things are not going well, there is almost nowhere to escape the criticism and pressure within those markets. Williams seems content knowing he may not have been a good fit in Brooklyn.
“It’s cool. There’s a lot of people, I guess, who aren’t built for New York,” Williams told Yahoo. “New York is not for everybody.”
Does that make Williams soft? If you live in New York, that may be your first thought when you read that comment. He is right, though. You can be a successful player and have a fruitful career in a market without all of the heated pressure. Don’t overlook the pressure for the Nets to do well as they moved to Brooklyn, essentially setting up camp to compete more head-to-head with the New York Knicks. Even if expectations were high for the Nets, there was a bit of New York-based hype raising the bar a bit higher than it actually should have been.
Williams returns to Brooklyn on Wednesday as the Mavericks play the Nets on the road following a game in Toronto on Tuesday.