DALLAS -- Three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who is excited about his "fresh start" with the Mavericks after being bought out of the final two seasons of his max contract with the Brooklyn Nets, acknowledged dealing with a confidence crisis over the past two seasons.
"I want to prove myself wrong," Williams said Monday during the Mavericks' media day. "I started to doubt myself in the past. Mentally, it took a toll on me. I just got to get out of that rut that I was in the last couple years mentally, and I look forward to this situation.
"I think I'm past that. This fresh start has definitely helped that a lot. I'm looking forward to this year. It's a better situation."
Williams, 31, said he struggled to mentally deal with his injuries, which required surgeries on both ankles, and his disappointing performance during his tenure as the face of the Nets' franchise. His production plummeted the past two seasons, and he averaged 13.0 points and 6.6 assists per game while shooting 38.7 percent from the floor in 2014-15, when he made $19.8 million.
A native of Dallas suburb The Colony, Williams chose to join his hometown Mavs after negotiating a $27 million buyout with the Nets. He signed a two-year, $11 million deal with Dallas that includes a player option for the second season, hoping that he could resuscitate his career in a more comfortable, stable environment.
The Mavs attempted to sign Williams in the summer of 2012, but he opted to re-sign with the Nets, a decision he said he doesn't necessarily regret.
"I choose really not to look at things like that," Williams said. "I had some great times in Brooklyn and New Jersey. We made the playoffs three years there. We didn't advance as far as we'd liked, but I learned a lot. I had a great experience in New York. So I don't really like to go back and say, 'What if?'"
Williams showed up Monday with a new, not totally voluntary bald look -- "The older you get, things go," he said with a grin -- and a renewed approach to basketball.
"Talking to [owner Mark Cuban] and talking to coach [Rick Carlisle], that's kind of the plan, just hitting that reset button, clearing my head and getting away from the situation that wasn't going well for me or the team in Brooklyn," said Williams, who cited having four head coaches in three and a half seasons as another factor in his underwhelming stint with the Nets. "It's a total change coming here.
"Let what happened in Brooklyn be in the past and move forward. It's over and done with. I'm a Maverick, and I'm excited to play with the group we have and for Coach Carlisle."
Williams enters training camp with a slight calf strain, but Carlisle said he is confident the Mavs' medical staff can help Williams stay healthy.
Williams hopes to prove he can still be one of the league's premier point guards, and Carlisle said he believes it's possible, based on film he studied from late last season and how Williams fits with the Mavs.
"We did a breakdown film on him, and I was astounded with the number of points that he scored late in the year that were drives to the basket," Carlisle said. "He was getting to the rim. The other thing I really like about him for our situation is that I just like the guys that we can surround him with to make his job easier. I really think he can make the jobs of the guys around him easier as well."
Williams was a key piece to the Mavs' roster reconstruction after the front office was left scrambling following center DeAndre Jordan's decision to renege on his commitment to Dallas this summer.
"It was definitely a dark moment when it happened," Williams said. "I guess I'm kind of a consolation prize."