Deron Williams' frustration over his slump has reached a boiling point
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SAN ANTONIO -- Deron Williams' frustration level is reaching unparalleled heights.
"Probably my whole life -- not just [in] the league," Williams said Tuesday before the Nets flew to Oklahoma City for Wednesday night's matchup with the Thunder (24-6). "I'm definitely frustrated with how I'm playing and disappointed with how I'm playing. I've had stretches [before] where one or two games, I had off-games. Never like this. I've never been consistently playing this bad."
Williams seems like he's a shell of his old self and the Nets (16-15) won't have much success if he doesn't regain the All-Star form that led to the franchise signing him to a $98-million max contract.
There's no denying he just hasn't been the same player that was traded here from Utah in February 2011. His jumper is way off. His confidence is gone. He's thinking way too much rather than playing instinctual ball.
In his last 10 games, he has topped the 20-point plateau just once, and has posted double-digit assists one time. He's not looking like one of the NBA's elite point guards.
"I don't think I'm playing like one," he said. "I think I can be. I've just got to figure this thing out, try not to panic, hopefully try not to talk about it too much. But it's kind of hard because it's a big problem right now."
Unpleased with his game, Williams has tried a variety of ways to cure his ills. He's studied old footage of his Utah days with hopes of unlocking the reason for his struggles. He's been in the gym early working up a sweat, hoisting a bevy of jump shots. "I've done everything you can possibly do," he said.
Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo chatted with Williams last Friday -- the day after Avery Johnson was fired -- and told him to stop putting the weight of the team on his shoulders. But because he's the face of the Nets and outsiders are questioning his ability, that's not exactly an easy thing to do.
"It would be hard to overstate how dramatically different the franchise, the team, the expectations, the focus -- everything is this year as compared to last year," Carlesimo said, "and he's in the middle of that whole thing. So, it's been a big challenge."
Williams said his stroke hasn't felt the same since he had surgery on his right wrist in 2011. But he refused to use that and the rash of bumps and bruises he's collected this season as an excuse.
"I'm just overthinking," he said. "I've never been a player than can go out there and look to play and think. I just react and now I'm kind of like, I come off and am thinking, 'Should I shoot this. Should I not?' I'm just not playing the way I should be. That's all on me. It's not on injuries. It's just in my head and I've got to get it out."