That attitude was pervasive last year, Williams said, and contributed to him having the worst season of his NBA career. As the losses mounted, his frustration began to show in the form of negative body language, so much so that coach Avery Johnson had to call him out on it.
But Williams said he had a real problem that his teammates too often were joking around after losses in a 22-44 season.
“It was hard. I’ve never been in that position before,” Williams told reporters Tuesday, following his team’s first day of training camp. “So at times, I’ve showed frustration, but I think anybody would have. I think no matter who it is, if you were there every day and you saw what was going on in the locker room you’d be pissed off too sometimes. You’re getting your asses kicked and then you’re in the locker room laughing about the game afterwards.
“I don’t think that stuff is funny. That’s what we had to deal with last year. But I don’t think we’re going to deal with it this year, because just talking to the guys, that’s not what we’re about. We’re talking about not losing two games in a row. We were just trying to fight to win two games in a row last year.”
Asked about the difference between the two seasons, Williams responded: “It’s night and day, last year to this year, what we have in training camp.”
Johnson said any concerns over Williams’ body language are gone.
“There’s no negative body language,” Johnson said. “There’s no frustration with the roster. There’s no frustration with losing. It’s all new. He had a lot of pressure on him in terms of free agency. That’s not there.
“So it’s just a lot of things aren’t there. It’s a different team. Different year. He doesn’t have to talk about trade rumors with other players. So I think his body language has followed the type of attitude that he has and how he feels about this team and this year.”