By SI Wire
October 29, 2014

Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams says he believes the pressure is off of him after finally being healthy and that he feels "300 times better" than he did last season.

Williams missed 17 games in 2013-14 due to various injuries and has been plagued by ankle injures for the past few seasons. Williams had surgery on both ankles in May and says he is almost back to 100 percent.

"Everybody's pretty much written me off," Williams told the team's website. "People say I'm never gonna be like I once was. I'm on the downhill. And so what pressure do I have?"

Williams averaged 14.3 points and 6.1 assists in 64 games last season. His scoring and assists averages last season were the lowest since his rookie campaign of 2005-06.

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Williams, a three-time All-Star, says he got his confidence back after having a productive preseason.

"I'm a lot more confident," Williams said. "I just didn't have a lot of confidence in my ankles (the last two seasons). They wouldn't allow me to do the things I was capable of doing."

Williams, who is starting the third year of a five-year, $98.7 million contract, says that the team expects a lot out of him this season and expects him to play at a high level.

"Deron has been more vocal, more leading, but that's great. I can't speak to how he was before that, so I'm just going on my first view of him, up close. When he was in Utah, I thought he was a good leader. He just plays," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.

Brooklyn opens the 2014-15 season on the road Wednesday against the Boston Celtics.

- Scooby Axson

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