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Lionel Hollins says he expected Deron Williams to return to form

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

A month into the NBA season, Deron WIlliams is playing better than he did last season for the Nets.  All his numbers are up --some marginally-- except for his assists which have dropped a bit. But his new coach in Dallas, Rick Carlisle, is full of praise for him and the Mavericks are playing better than expected.\

Does this surprise Lionel Hollins, with whom D-Will had a testy, if not worse, relationship?  Not at all.

"He’s played well. I said he’d play well, he’d be more comfortable out of New York,’’ Hollins said Wednesday. "I said that he’d go down and play in a little different system, but mainly be out of New York and be away from the New York spotlight and expectations that were really unnatural. So I expected him to play better.’’

"Unnatural?"  Is that a dis?  Williams, before his buyout, was in the midst of a $100 million deal he signed knowing the pressures of playing in New York.  Of course, as Williams has admitted, a lot of the change in Dallas has been about his not moving from injury to injury.

Hollins, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez said they haven't heard from Williams since his departure --and he never thanked the fans --a lot of kids bought No. 8 jerseys-- or the organization after accepting the buyout.  But his former teammates seemed to wish him well.

"He’s back home, enjoying himself," Lopez said. "He seems to be comfortable. He really seems to be doing well right now and I’m sure he’s enjoying it. I couldn’t be happier for him."

The Nets and Mavericks face off at Barclays on December 23.