- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN New York Writer
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In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Williams went 0-for-9 from the field and was held scoreless. Kobe Bryant wondered to Sports Illustrated how something like that could happen to a player of D-Will’s caliber. Bryant felt that Williams got psyched out. Instead of continuing to shoot, the three-time All-Star became passive.
Bryant couldn’t understand. The Los Angeles Lakers star said he’d rather go 0-for-30 than 0-for-9.
Williams underwent surgery on both of his ankles in the offseason. Now it’s about getting healthy and getting his confidence back. But how?
“There’s a lot of different things you can do [as a coach],” Lionel Hollins said Friday. “I can’t say right here that I’m going to walk in there and tell Deron Williams this or that, because I don’t even know where he is from that perspective [a confidence perspective] at this moment.
“But I think first of all he has to be healthy and he has to be in great shape and we’re going to try to put him in a situation where he can flourish, which will give him confidence and go from there. I mean confidence comes and goes with all players no matter how good they are. I don’t think there’s ever been a player that’s played and didn’t have a confidence issue at some point maybe in a game, maybe in a season.”
Hollins has said similar things before. Putting Williams in a position where he can flourish is the key. In that respect, it really comes down to health, doesn’t it?
“If you’re injured, you can’t be who you are,” Hollins said. “You can’t make the same moves or be as explosive as you are, and it’s difficult to go out there and go 100 percent. You’re always worried about what’s going to happen if you push off, stop, change direction, all of those things.”
Asked about where Williams is from health standpoint, Hollins responded, “As far as I know, good.”
Williams looked good dribbling in an Instagram video posted by his close friend, Matt Mitnick, on Friday night.
Hollins went on an Arizona radio station recently and talked about contracts possibly affecting a player’s performance. He was speaking in generalities, but there was some thought he might’ve been speaking about Williams, who had signed a five-year, $98 million max contract to remain in Brooklyn back in the summer of 2012, specifically.
“You’d have to ask Deron that question,” Hollins said. “What happened, in my opinion, had to do with injuries.”
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, plagued by ankle injuries in each of the last two seasons, has talked about lacking confidence on a few occasions.