(Mark Cuban – @DallasMavs)
Former Nets point guard Deron Williams was back in New York City on Monday night as his Dallas Mavericks were in town to take on the Knicks.
The Mavericks signed Williams this past July after the Nets bought out the final two years of his five-year/$100-million contract. The Nets edged out the Mavericks in the free-agent market for Williams in 2012.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, speaking before Monday’s game, said of what Williams has brought his team, “A lot, he knows how to play, basketball IQ, can score, can get off his own shot, he can create shots for other guys, attacks the rim, he’s been great.”
Cuban said of Williams’ Nets tenure possibly worrying him, “Why would I think about that? I was more worried about his tenure with Illinois because I went to Indiana than I was about his tenure with the Nets.”
Cuban said of Williams getting out of the New York market helping him, “It’s a crazy market, you know, the back page of the Post, the back page of all the different things, everybody sees it, everybody wants to talk about it, everybody’s got to comment, it’s a great basketball town, so everybody wants to talk basketball. It’s been tough on a lot of guys, especially when you’re the guy, and the team is going through pressures, it makes it tough, you know, he handled it as best as he could,”, Cuban said before saying tongue-in-cheek, “I’m glad it didn’t work out.” (for Deron in Brooklyn so he could bring him to Dallas)
On Williams playing more relaxed in Dallas, Cuban said, “Yeah, he’s a pretty chill guy, you know, he’s got his routine before the game, he’s fun to talk to, he cracks me up throws a great party. He’s everything you want in a guy.”
On it being uncomfortable at all between himself and Williams considering how it went down in free agency in 2012, Cuban said, “None whatsoever, not even a little bit actually…I just want to win, he just wants to win, you know, who remembers your freshman year girlfriend?”
Cuban said of him being more comfortable with his organization’s philosophy compared to Brooklyn’s, “I don’t know enough about Brooklyn to compare them, I mean, we just thought he would be a great fit. With Monta (Ellis) gone, we needed somebody who could get his own shot, and he can definitely get his own shot, and he’s a much better shooter than we ever anticipated. We track, we do a lot of, when guys just shoot in practice and everything – you know, if you can’t shoot in practice, you can’t shoot in a game, more often that not – so we track all that stuff. The guy’s a great knock-down shooter and he hits a lot of big, tough shots and he could get that shot off, so he’s a much better shooter than I expected.”
In the Mavericks’ 104-97 win, Williams had 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting, with seven assists and three rebounds.
Williams said of playing in New York, “I’m glad we got a win. It’s not about being back here, it’s about getting a win for this team.”
On Nowitzki setting the tone in the first quarter, Williams said, “That’s exactly what he did. He just came out and set the tone for us on offense. He did a good job of giving us some energy, giving us a big lift. It was a big reason why we got off to the way we started.”
Williams said of the Mavericks losing the big 23-point lead before holding on for the 104-97 win, “We let them come back. It is hard to keep a 20-point lead, especially on the road, on the second half of a back-to-back. That being said, we gotta do a better job. We were able to close out the game and that’s all that matters.”