Excerpts from an interview Monday with Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin.
Corbin on looking back on what Deron Williams — who plays for New Jersey and returns to Salt Lake City on Saturday — brought to Utah and their relationship: First of all, he's a great guy. He's a tremendous competitor. I had him here — I was here when he first came in the league and could see his growth and his body and his game and his maturity from the time he first came. His understanding on how to be one of the best point guards; his desire to be the best point guard in the league was tremendous, man. Then he got into golf and we had a chance to play some golf together.
Williams hated to lose at golf almost as much as he did at basketball: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [Laughs] But he went a hole or two where I got him.
How special Williams was on the court: You miss the little things because of his size. He could post up. He's a tremendous competitor on the defensive end of the floor. He could play smaller guys, he could play bigger guys, he could play some 2s. His jump shot got better. He's a big-time big-shot guy. He could seize the moment. Not only for himself — he could make the right play at the moment, either him taking a shot or him looking to get inside and making a quick pass to his teammates. He's a guy when things are going the other way can take it up another level. Or, if it's going really good, he can take it up another level to really get you a big lead. He is the All-Star that he is, man, and he still has a lot of upside to his game. He's still understanding that he can get better and he still has a desire to be the best point guard in the league.
How was it with him and Williams during 2010-11 and after Jerry Sloan resigned: Things happen. It's a business. He understood that. When the change happened, we wanted to talk and make sure that he felt a part of what was going on and if there's anything we need to address to make him feel better about what was going on here while he was here, then let's talk about it. We needed him to be engaged in what was going on. He did a great job from my standpoint. I thought he was on board with everything. And the way the business is, things happen and the opportunity presents itself and you move forward.
Did Williams push too hard last season: I think he just wanted to win, man. He wanted to win and he wanted to win big. Guys get to — one of the trappings of the league is you get to where you think; you see what's going on with other situations, other teams and you wonder why not me? Or, why not us? Are we doing enough or are we not doing enough? And you panic a little bit. He may have looked at it from a different perspective — and you have to ask him about it; I don't want to speak for him. But, man, I thought while he was here he did everything to try and help us win.
Their relationship always stayed strong: Oh, yeah. We were cool.
Brian T. Smith
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