But the game has also slowed down for him. Now, Williams knows when to pick his spots. He understands when he must speak out. And while much of Williams’ animated personality remains — chippy, highly competitive, a fighter who’ll punch quickly and dart faster — his athletic ego has been rounded out with a new mantra: find the open man.
“I’m a big believer in that,” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. Let’s play together. Let’s move the ball. And the ball will find the open man — it’ll find it. And we’ll find the best shot available each and every time down the floor.”
It’s Sloan speak. It’s Tyrone Corbin ball. It’s the Jazz system.
Williams’ official return Tuesday to the franchise that first took a chance on him displayed a player who, on Day One, appeared as if he’ll fit in better with the Jazz than Harris ever did during 18 months of frustrating inconsistency. Williams wants to set up Jefferson on the low block. He wants to hit Hayward off screens. He wants to turn Favors into a bigger, badder beast. And, yeah, Williams wants to drill a few 3s on his way back to the playoffs.
“I like competing against Chris Paul. I like competing against Derrick Rose. I like competing against Russell Westbrook,” he said. “Obviously, I’m a team guy. I feel like my team can win. I don’t individually have to beat you. You can be the superstar of the league — it doesn’t bother me. But I guarantee [game] night, my team will win.”
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