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Jazz's Williams happy in his new surroundings

Published July 13, 2012 3:07 pm

NBA • New Jazz forward Williams says he's "excited to be back out West."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Marvin Williams was born in Bremerton, Wash., played collegiately at North Carolina and spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks.

Clearly, Williams has never lived in any place quite like Utah.

If playing in one of the league's smallest and most conservative markets is a problem, however, he's hiding it well.

The Jazz acquired Williams from the Hawks last week, and the 26-year-old forward met the media at the team's practice facility Thursday.

Unlike a handful of players in the past — think Rony Seikaly and Derek Harper — Williams has seemingly embraced the idea of being traded to Utah.

Asked to recall his initial reaction to the trade, Williams said, "… There wasn't one negative thought at all in my mind about going to Utah."

Not that Williams is overly familiar with his new home.

"… I know it gets cold here," he said. "I know it snows a lot. So that was the only thing. I don't know much about Salt Lake City, I'll be honest about that. But I didn't know anything about Atlanta when I got down there, either, so I'm definitely excited to be back out West."

Williams was the No. 2 pick in the 2005 draft, behind former University of Utah star Andrew Bogut and just ahead of Deron Williams, who Utah selected at No. 3.

With the Hawks, Williams played 487 regular-season games, averaging 11.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. Last season, Williams buried a career-high 38.9 percent of his 3-point shots.

The Hawks needed another point guard, however, so they sent Williams to Utah in exchange for Devin Harris.

"It was unexpected, obviously," Williams said. "I've always lived in Atlanta. I loved the fans there. I loved playing there. I love my teammates there. It's a great city. But I understand the nature of the business. Trades happen. You have to move on. It's time to turn the page to the next chapter."

Williams has not talked to coach Tyrone Corbin or general manager Kevin O'Connor about his role with the Jazz, but it's difficult to imagine he won't be Utah's starting small forward next season.

Williams provides great size for the position and his outside shooting ability seems a perfect complement to the low-post games of Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

"I feel like I can do a lot of things fairly well," he said. "… The main thing I want to do here is become more consistent. I think the past few years I've been a little inconsistent."

Williams sees no problem fitting in with the Jazz, who went 36-30 during the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12 and reached the playoffs as the No. 8 team in the Western Conference.

"… This is a team that's already been established, so whatever role I have to fill, I'll try to go out there and do it to the best of ability," he said.

"We have a lot of young guys — a lot of good players. … I'm a big fan of Gordon Hayward. He plays hard. We definitely have guys who come in and compete."

Williams returns to North Carolina on Friday, when he resumes taking classes as he works to finish his degree in sociology.

In Chapel Hill, Williams regularly sees Tar Heel coach Roy Williams, who assured him after the trade that Utah would be a good place to continue his career.

"He's excited about the whole situation," Marvin Williams said. "He thought it would be a new start for me — that I would be in a good situation. So anytime he feels good about something, that definitely calms my nerves."

Why does he have so much faith in his collegiate coach?

"What he's been to me in my life, I can't put into words." Williams said. "I've never had another person, outside of my family, that's cared about me as much as coach Williams has. I can never thank him for the things he's done for me."

luhm@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sluhm —

Marvin Williams file

Hometown • Bremerton, Wash.

Birthday • June 19, 1986

College • North Carolina

Position • Forward

Height • 6-9

Weight • 245

Career highlights • The No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft, just behind Andrew Bogut and ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul. … In 487 games with Atlanta, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. … Averaged 10.2 points and shot a career-high 38.9 percent from the 3-point line last season. … Averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds as a rookie. … Earned Second Team All-Rookie honors. … Averaged 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 2006-07 and a career-high 14.8 points in 80 games in 2007-08. … Scored a career-high 33 points against Seattle on Jan. 25, 2008. —

2005 top five

The career statistics from the top five players in the 2005 NBA Draft:

Player G Min Pts Reb Ast

Andrew Bogut 408 32.7 12.7 9.3 2.3

Marvin Williams 487 30.4 11.5 5.3 1.3

Deron Williams 506 35.7 17.6 2.8 9.3

Chris Paul 485 37.0 18.8 4.5 9.8

Raymond Felton 479 34.8 13.4 3.3 6.7