It was a rough start to the season for Deron Williams in Brooklyn. He was failing miserably at living up to the max contract he signed in the offseason to remain with the Nets, and was placing blame seemingly everywhere but on himself for those early-season struggles.
That behavior didn’t exactly ingratiate himself with the fan base or the media covering the team, and created some hostility where there didn’t need to be any.
The deterioration of the relationship is on Williams for the most part, but now that he’s playing a bit better as of late, he opened up as to the reasons why his play suffered so dramatically in the early part of the season.
Williams said it wasn’t the pressure of the new contract or the extra attention of the bigger market. It was all about the pain in his ankles, which has been reduced dramatically since latest round of injections.
“From walking from here to that lockerroom felt like s—. It felt like s—,” he said. “What do you not understand? I could not walk. I could not walk up my stairs without it killing me. It would take me 10 minutes to get up my stairs, especially in the morning. I feel totally different right now. I feel like I have a whole new energy.”
Again, Williams isn’t without blame here, but he may be unfairly judged for the way he honestly (and sometimes bluntly) responds to questions publicly, instead of simply uttering the platitudes and cliches that keep other players out of trouble.
Injuries can obviously have a huge effect on the ability of players to play the game at their highest level, and we sometimes don’t fully grasp the gravity of what a player deals with in terms of pain and preparation just to get onto the court in any capacity.
Of course, it isn’t easy to sympathize with a player on a max contract whose body language is poor, to the point where it doesn’t seem like he’s interested or giving the maximum effort that both fans and media demand on a nightly basis.
Williams explains his take on all of this in greater detail, so it’s definitely worth reading the entirety of his comments.