DALLAS – Because of multiple injuries he’s incurred over the past three years, Dallas Mavericks point guard Deron Williams has become reluctantly accustomed to not being able to shift his game into another gear.
It’s frustrating, to say the least. Especially for a player who earned All-Star credentials from 2010-’12.
"That’s kind of how it’s been for me the last four years,’’ Williams said of injuries that have ransacked his body in recent years. "So at least I’m use to it and I’m just trying to get through it.
"I know, at least this time, it’s nothing serious.’’
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Williams is trying to overcome issues with both of his calves which limited his practice sessions during training camp, and limited him to playing in only the Mavs’ final preseason game. It also forced Williams to sit out last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers -- a game which was on the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavs.
With his recent past dealings with injuries, Williams is being dealt with gingerly by the Mavs. They don’t want something minor to become something major.
"The knees are still sore -- it could be for awhile,’’ Williams said. "It’s just minor.
"Like I said, it’s more about getting in game shape where my legs aren’t wearing down towards the end of games. I feel like it tends to happen at certain points in the game where you just feel your legs getting heavy and that’s just from not being on them for a month-and-a-half.’’
In essence, Williams sees his current state of affairs as like he’s just now going through his own personal training camp. Coach Rick Carlisle just appreciates whatever he can get from Williams, who took a $27.5 million buyout from the Brooklyn Nets this past summer and then signed a two-year, $11 million free agent contract with the Mavs.
"All things considered, he’s in a tough spot and he’s pushing through,’’ Carlisle said. "He’s banged up, he’s not feeling great, but he’s out here playing and he’s been practicing.
"It is a lot like being in training camp in that perspective. He’s just got to keep going -- that’s just the bottom line.’’
Williams also have to get use to the ultra-quick pace that’s played over in the Western Conference. While play is mostly tortoise-like in the Eastern Conference, it’s more or less gazelle-like in the West.
"I have a pretty good feel for what’s expected,’’ Williams said. "It’s just a matter of doing it every time and being comfortable with it, being comfortable with the flow of the game.
"The pace of the game is different than I played the last three years. In the East and playing in Brooklyn it was more slow it down and grind it out, and this is more up-tempo and just constant moving.’’
Williams knows he needs to re-program the way he’s been operating on the court in recent years. He hopes to take another step towards that transition when the Mavs host New Orleans on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center.
"I’m used to passing and going and standing (in the corner),’’ he said. "So I’ve got to get that out of my head a lot where I’ve just got to pass and I’m just watching. (Carlisle is) like, ‘No, you’ve got to move.’
"Those are the things that I’ve got to work on and get better at.’’
Once Williams gets accustomed to Carlisle’s flow game, he believes the rest of his game will flow even better.
"Like I said, I’ve got to get use to not (passing the ball and then standing in the corner)," Williams said. "My tendency is just to pass and go away and stand.
"I’ve got to realize the ball is going to come back to me, I can cut, I can move. There are different things you can do within this offense to get the ball back and get going.’’
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