By Ross Kelly
We’ve all seen numerous examples of players who perform well in the comfort of a small market, then make a move to a bigger market and completely fall apart. Notable examples include Carl Crawford in Boston, Nnamdi Asomugha in Philly, and A.J. Burnett in New York. There was hope that Deron Williams could dig his way out of joining this group and that he could turn things around in Brooklyn but that hope came to an end when he was officially waived on Saturday.
Then, later on Saturday, this nugget came from Stefan Bondy, an NBA writer for the NY Daily News:
In the Barclays Center hallways, a Nets player made a plea for compassion. Or maybe it was pity.
“If you can,” he told two media members, “take it easy on D-Will. He can’t handle it.”
And with that we have the defining quote of Williams’ tenure with the Nets. No word on which teammate of Williams made the quote but it reportedly came just after Paul Pierce’s scathing comments about Williams succumbing to the pressure of New York.
The former 3x All-Star, who was once considered an equal of Chris Paul, has had a gradual decline since being traded from Utah in 2011. Last season he posted the lowest scoring average since his rookie season and was even worse in the playoffs averaging just 12 points per game as the Nets were eliminated in the first round. It is presumed that Williams will sign with his hometown Mavericks once he clears waivers. Dallas isn’t exactly a small market, but when compared to New York, it certainly is. Time will tell if he’s able to regain the form that made him an elite point guard but that quote is going to stick with him for the rest of his career.