Deron Williams’ History With Coaches as Concerning as his Injury Woes


When the news first broke that the Mavericks had come to terms with Brooklyn Nets castoff Deron Williams my first reaction was a mostly positive one. The Mavs had just experienced a rough first week or so of free agency and the guy I had hoped they would get to run the show, Jeremy Lin, had just agreed to a deal with the Charlotte Hornets.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was jumping out of my seat at the news, but the deal was a team-friendly one and the Mavericks had a hole to fill at the point guard spot. Getting D-Will lessened the sting of what had happened in the days prior just enough for me to forget his warts for a second or two.

But those warts are very real. The poor play in Brooklyn, the injury woes, and just as concerning as the previous two: his history as a tough player to coach.

It’s not secret he and Jerry Sloan clashed often before the all-time great coach decided to quit, and then there was the reported altercation Williams had with Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins.

Recently the Jazz team physician, Dr. Lyle Mason, offered up some more alarming information in regards to the time leading up to Sloan’s early retirement. From Salt City Hoops:

"Deron, when he came, was a guy who was a very skilled player, and the coaches looked at him and Chris Paul—we could have taken either one—I think Jerry decided on Deron because of his size, strength, and his durability. They thought he might be just a little bit better than Chris, although they liked both players, and then when he started playing, he was an outstanding player. BUT, the personality conflict grew between him and the coach, and eventually it became impossible for the two of them to stay. When the coach quit, management still decided that it was best if he went somewhere else.Deron was the opposite of Stockton: Deron could not handle the coach calling any plays. He wanted to call every play. I’ll never understand why that was such a big deal, that if the coach called one play, he was going to run another one, which he always did. And that was part of what really drove them apart, was that Deron just decided he didn’t need coaching, and Jerry obviously thought otherwise.Deron, in my dealings with him was always very nice, very friendly, I still consider him a friend."

I’m trying to think back to the last time a surly, past his prime point guard decided he wanted to call his own plays in Dallas…

Oh that’s right, it didn’t end well.

Reports have been that Williams is in excellent shape and that he’s ready for a resurgence in Dallas, but didn’t we hear those same types of media soundbites when Rajon Rondo came to town?

Mavericks fans will just have to hope for a better relationship between coach and point guard than there was for the majority of last season because if there’s one thing we know about Rick Carlisle it’s that he won’t waste his time with a player who won’t respect him.

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