Deron Williams left the Mavericks’ 103-99 Tuesday night loss to the Raptors with a strained left hamstring, leaving his status doubtful for tonight’s game against the Nets in Brooklyn. This wouldn’t be big news, except that this game would have been Williams’ first time back in Brooklyn since agreeing to a buyout this summer following five disappointing seasons with the Nets.
“The last thing I want to do is miss this game tomorrow,” said Williams, who had been experiencing tightness in his left hamstring and felt a pop during the third quarter. “It’s definitely frustrating.”
Williams was candid about his time in Brooklyn and the reception he’ll get from fans at the Barclays Center, which in all likelihood won’t be a friendly one:
“I’m sure I’ll get booed,” Williams told ESPN.com over the weekend. “Those Brooklyn fans, they expected more out of me. I expected more out of myself. Injuries are tough, man. Somebody that’s been injured year after year, they can attest. They take a toll on you physically. It takes a toll on you mentally.
“Add that to the New York media and the fans — or I should say the non-fans, the ones that don’t pick you up — it all takes a toll on you. I think it definitely took a toll on me, but that’s what happens when you get paid that money and you don’t produce like it.”
Rather than making the Nets a title contender, Williams exemplified an underwhelming period of their history, coinciding with their move to Brooklyn. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov spent aggressively to bring in big names like Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, hoping to build a powerhouse but instead ending up with a bloated, underachieving mess of a roster with no future hope or draft picks. A divorce with Williams was best for both sides, and he’s thriving in Dallas with lower expectations.