Jazz notes: Williams looking to pull himself out of rut
Jazz notes • Starting forward has struggled on Eastern road trip.
Published: March 8, 2014 09:41PM
Updated: March 8, 2014 11:20PM

Philadelphia • The East Coast had not been kind to Marvin Williams.

The Utah Jazz’s starting forward’s play was integral to what success the Jazz have seen this year. But over the six games on the team’s Eastern Conference road swing, Williams’ production has fallen off. The Jazz’s starting forward had gone 10 for 25 through the first five games of the trip, averaging just 5 points per game, about half of his average (9.6) for the season.

“Man, the last week and a half I’ve kind of been in a rut, I guess,” said Williams, who broke out some Saturday, scoring nine points but on 3-of-7 shooting.

Williams, who has been dealing with lingering soreness in his heel after offseason surgery on his Achilles, said he feels fine. But his coach knows the season takes its toll.

“It’s been a lot of games. He’s a little banged up,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “We’re trying to manage his minutes to keep him as fresh as we can. But Marvin’s a trouper.”

In the Jazz’s 21 wins this season, Williams has averaged 11.4 points a game. In losses, he’s only scoring 8.4.

Williams’ move to the stretch-four position has spaced the floor more for the Jazz, and has given the forward a chance to shoot more 3s. As a result, teams are zeroing in more on Williams on the perimeter.

“They’re coming out and as a result he’s putting the ball on the floor a little bit more than he was early on,” Corbin said. “He was catching and shooting early on.”

On the year, Williams shoots 40 percent on catch-and-shoot opportunities and just 27 percent on pull-up shots.

Williams, however, said he’s not worried about his lack of production of late.

“Throughout the course of a season, you’ll be extremely hot, sometimes you’ll be a little cold,” he said. “But I’m too confidence in myself and my shooting ability to ever get down on myself. It helps when your teammates keep you confidence and your coach keeps you confident. Coach was yelling at me for not shooting the ball more.”

The man for the job

As a man in the midst of a rebuilding season himself, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown believes the Jazz have the right man at the helm for theirs.

“He has a fantastic balance of three things: analytics, assessment of talent and a feel for the game,” Brown said of Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, with whom he worked while the two were with the San Antonio Spurs. “He’s a player and I just feel like he ticks a lot of boxes. You love just going into his office and sharing ideas and arguing and seeing which direction the game was going. I really enjoyed my time with Dennis. He’s going to be fantastic in Utah.”

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Twitter: @tribjazz