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Jazz notes: Deron Williams' return to Salt Lake City is just five days away

Published January 10, 2012 11:43 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

D-Will day is less than a week away.

Former Jazz guard Deron Williams is scheduled to officially return to EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday, when Utah hosts New Jersey.

Much has changed for the Jazz and their former All-Star since Williams was traded Feb. 23.

While Williams leads the Nets in average points (17.3), assists (6.9) and steals (1.6), a rebuilding New Jersey team has gone just 9-25 since he arrived and has started 2-7 this season.

Meanwhile, the Jazz now fully belong to second-year coach Tyrone Corbin, who became close with Williams during the guard's time in Utah.

Corbin served as a buffer between ex-Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and Williams, and the ultra-competitive athlete even let Corbin win a couple of holes of golf.

"He's a great guy. He's a tremendous competitor. … I was here when he first came in the league and could see his growth. … His desire to be the best point guard in the league was tremendous," Corbin said.

Corbin maintained his friendship with and respect for Williams during a tumultuous 2010-11 season for the Jazz — one that saw the former face of the franchise push harder than ever for Utah to remain competitive with the NBA's elite franchises.

"He just wanted to win, man. He wanted to win, and he wanted to win big," Corbin said.

He added: "One of the trappings of the league is … 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."

Big help

Corbin isn't the only Utah coach finding his voice.

Assistant Sidney Lowe has drawn praise from players for his ability to alternately push hard and quietly listen.

Lowe was Corbin's main hire last summer, and the longtime friends are doing everything they can to turn the Jazz around.

"He's a great personality. He understands how to approach players — he was a player," Corbin said. "He knows the game. He knows how to read guys' body language and he's done a tremendous job of not being overly bearing to the guys but [saying] something when he [needs] to."

No worry

Forward C.J. Miles hasn't made an issue about his recent lack of playing time — just 13 combined minutes during Utah's past two games — and neither is Corbin.

"That's the way things are," Corbin said. "He'll continue to play … continue to work."

bsmith@sltrib.comTwitter: @tribjazzfacebook.com/tribjazz —

Cavaliers vs. Jazz

P At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff • 7 p.m.

TV • ROOT Sports

Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM

Records • Cavs 4-4, Jazz 5-3

Last meeting • Jazz, 121-99 (Jan. 14, 2011)

About the Cavs • Cleveland has won three of five games. … Veteran power forward Antawn Jamison leads the Cavs in average scoring (16), while Anderson Varejao tops the team in rebounds (10.1). … Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 pick of the 2011 draft, is averaging 15 points, 5.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 26.8 minutes.

About the Jazz • Utah has won four consecutive games. … Al Jefferson ranks second among NBA centers in scoring (18.1), trailing only Dwight Howard (18.6). … Utah has held six of eight opponents below 100 points.