Through seven years of professional basketball in Atlanta, facing the Utah Jazz twice a year, Marvin Williams will never forget that quadruple-overtime classic against the Jazz during the 2011-12 regular season.
More than once, or so Williams thought, Atlanta had Utah beaten. And each time, the Jazz would respond. Williams felt respect for his opponent when he walked off the floor that night. Now, he gets to join them.
“It was that look in their eye,” Williams said after arriving at Salt Lake International Airport. “They never gave up. They just kept coming at us and they never backed down.”
Williams officially became a member of the Jazz on Wednesday night, his swap for Devin Harris going through with the NBA moratorium on trades and free agent signings coming to an end.
This represents a fresh start for Williams, who had become a bit stale in Atlanta as a former No. 2 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft who hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. Williams knows his reputation as a solid, if not spectacular, small forward. He also knows that Utah has a need for his length and athleticism, and that this is a fresh start for him.
“I’m excited,” Williams said. “It’s a chance for me to come in and help the organization on and off the court. I can’t wait to get started.”
With the long commercial flight from Atlanta behind him on Wednesday night, Williams’ first mission was food. He will be formally introduced on Thursday morning in a press conference at the Jazz’s practice facility. He will then start looking for a place to live.
Williams also has to acclimate himself to Utah’s system, which he admits that he knows little of. Williams, 6-foot-9, has a year remaining on his contract, plus a player option. The Jazz envision him becoming a small forward who can defend, rebound, play multiple positions and stretch the floor with mid-range and long range shooting.
More than anything, Williams is excited to become a piece of Utah’s young core, which includes Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
“It’ll be different,” Williams said. “Obviously, this is my first time being traded. Hopefully, I can get adjusted quickly by the end of the summer. I’m just excited to be a part of this team. These guys play hard. Every time you went up against the Jazz, you knew what kind of game you were in for.”