Deron Williams’ tenure with the Brooklyn Nets was short on happy times and long on injuries and front office turmoil.
Thus, when Williams had a chance to leave the Nets and return home to play for the Dallas Mavericks last summer, he jumped at that opportunity.
“It’s just been a good situation for me from top to bottom,’’ said Williams, a point guard who is in his first season with the Mavericks. “The organization has been really great, the coaching staff, players.
“It’s been a situation where I just feel like I’ve come in and fit in really nice.’’
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Williams likes the up-and-down flow offensive system which coach Rick Carlisle has installed more-so than the plodding attack the Nets and most teams in the Eastern Conference employ. It gives him a chance to be more creative and have a much greater impact on the game.
“I think the system definitely suits my style, it’s a little more free-flowing, a little more movement on offense. They put me in a lot of great positions on the court offensively.’’
Williams also admits that playing with a superstar like Dirk Nowitzki has its advantages.
“It’s been great to play with him,’’ Williams said. “As a point guard he’s really easy to play with.
“He makes the game easy for you and for other players on the court, and people have to pay attention to him on pick-and-rolls -- no matter where he is on the court. They don’t want to leave him, so it opens the game up a lot for myself and for everybody else.’’
Carlisle agreed with that assessment of the situation in regards to Nowitzki playing a major role in Williams’ job not being as strenuous as it was with the Nets.
“Dirk is still here, and Dirk takes a lot of the attention off of everybody and he’s a great guy to play with because he opens up the floor a lot,’’ Carlisle said. “Playing with him is great for anybody – ask Monta Ellis – he had two great years with us and he’s a good player and he’s going to have a good year anywhere.
“I think playing with Dirk is a great thing for a guy like Deron Williams. But Deron, he’s worked very hard to get himself to a point where he has been healthy.’’
Williams will get a chance to show his former team how much he’s progressed when the Mavericks (26-22) host the Nets (12-34) Friday night at 7:30 at American Airlines Center. It will be Williams’ first game against the Nets since he took a $27.5 million buyout from Brooklyn last summer so he could become a free agent.
When the Mavericks defeated the Nets, 119-118 in overtime in Brooklyn on Dec. 23, Williams missed that game with a strained hamstring.
“All I can say is it’s another game, just another game,’’ Williams said. “It’ll be good seeing a lot of people in the organization.
“But as far as the game goes, it’s another game we need to win.’’
Williams averages 14 points and 5.5 assists per game and has been a model of consistency, especially when he hasn’t been hampered with any health issues.
“He’s worked extremely hard on his health, and generally he’s been healthier than he was the last couple of years in Brooklyn,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “But he’s put the work in.
“Look, he’s a good player that I’ve always had great respect for, I’ve always really loved his game and always hoped to have a chance to work with him. Luckily for us it worked out and we had a chance to get him.’’
For Williams, the feeling is probably mutual. Particularly considering the Nets couldn’t make up their minds on who they wanted to coach the team long-term during Williams’ tenure with their organization.
Avery Johnson, P. J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins coached Williams during his three-and-a-half years with the Nets. The revolving door of coaches meant there was a new system to learn, new nuances with the new coach and new players.
“Every year you learn a new system and a new philosophy on offense and on defense, players are being cycled in,’’ Williams. “And on top of that it makes chemistry tough and it makes consistency tough.
“When there’s not that much change going on it definitely helps you.’’
Hollins was fired by the Nets on Jan. 10 – a move which took Williams by surprise.
“I thought he would get a little more of a chance, but that’s the nature of this business,’’ Williams said. “You see how things are going around the league now -- not just there.
“David Blatt got fired (last week by Cleveland) and he was supposed to be coaching the All-Star game. So it’s just the nature of this business.’’