In a New Year's Day interview with the beat writers who followed the Nets to the southwest, an obviously frustrated (and somewhat confused) Deron Williams discussed all the possible reasons he's played so poorly, or at least poorly by his standards ... and the standards set for a $100 million player.
Bottom line for him was simple: "I just got to figure out ways to play better." Here's what he said.
On the 31-point loss to San Antonio:
It's one of those ones you've got to put it behind you. Really good team that's been together for a long time and they played a really good game last night and we didn't. Hopefully its something we can put behind us and move on to the next one.
On whether this is the most frustrated he's been in his NBA career
It's probably my whole life, not just the league. I'm definitely upset with the way I'm playing and disappointed how I'm playing. There've been one or two games where I've had off games, but never like this, never consistently playing this bad.
On whether his problem is fatigue, injuries, confidence
I think it's a combination of all of them. I think the biggest one is confidence. YOu lose that, it's hard to get back.
On whether he was getting better shots in past years
I just got to figure out ways to play better, no matter where I get my shots. No matter where they're coming from. I got to play better.
On whether he's looked at tapes of how he played in Utah
Trust me, I've watched my highlight tapes to get going. I've done everything. I played with more bounce there. My shots were coming from different places. It was more of a pick and roll game. You know, I'm getting good shots here. Its not like I'm not getting goods shots here. People are doubling Joe, giving me open shots. I'm just not making them.
On whether his 2011 wrist surgery has affected his shot, physically or mentally
I felt I shot a lot better before my wrist surgery. I played the last year and a half in Utah with a bad wrist. Its' one of those things where I shot a certain way for two and a half years because of the wrist. So I dont know if it changed my shot or what. but my shot hasn't felt the same. I think it's more mental than my actual wrist being hurt. It was fine before I fell on it in that Clipper game. Now, it's just a sprained wrist. If I had fell on my left wrist, it would have been the same thing. I was high up and fell on it.
On how much of his problem is mental
Its' overthinking. I've never been a player that's gone out there and play and think. I just react. Now, it's just I come off and think should I shoot this or not. I'm just not playing the way I should be. it's all on me. It's not the injuries. It's just in my head and I got to figure it out.
On whether he believes he is an elite point guard
I don't think I'm playing like one. I think I can be. I just to figure this thing out. I try not to panic, try not to talk about it too much (laughs) but you know it's kind of hard. It's a big problem right now.
Maybe he is overthinking it. Here's what P.J. Carlesimo said Tuesday, as reported by Stefan Bondy...
I think a lot of it is the reality of what has happened to our franchise this year. It would be hard to overstate how dramatically different the franchise, the team, the expectations, the focus, everything is this year compared to last year. And he’s in the middle of the whole thing. So it’s been a big challenge. I think it’s important for me to not let him think it all revolves around him. Yes, he’s one on of our absolute best players, but he’s not the primary problem by any stretch.