Tyrone Corbin did make a change to his starting lineup on Monday. But it wasn’t the one some expected.
As Earl Watson replaced Jamaal Tinsley in the first five, small forward Marvin Williams remained a starter despite his worst stretch since joining the Jazz via trade in the offseason.
"He knows I bring more to this team than offense," Williams said, "and I feel like that probably is why he has kept me in the lineup."
Because if offense were the only metric, there would be little defense of Williams — although he made four of his first six shots against the Celtics and had 10 points at halftime.
If only the Jazz could capture that performance in a bottle.
"Either been hot or really cold," Williams said, "there’s been no middle ground."
The likable veteran shot just 33 percent from the field in January, and entering Monday’s game was on a 38 percent clip in February. His points per game have steadily decreased each month, from 9.7 in November to 5.8 this month. It came to a head when he was 0 for 3 and scoreless in just 14 minutes Saturday against the Clippers.
"It’s been an interesting stretch for me," Williams said, "to say the least. I don’t know, man, I’ve just got to get better."
Unfortunately for Williams, this is not a unique trend in a career that peaked when he was drafted No. 2 overall by Atlanta in the 2005 draft. Since then, he has battled expectations and being labeled a flop.
"Throughout my career," he said, "it’s been difficult, I’ve been so up and down at times. I’ve been really good, sometimes I’ve been really bad. So, it’s been something I’ve been working with and I’ve got to get better."
Corbin said the Jazz considered replacing Williams in the starting lineup and that it is not off the table, but that "he’s done some other things to help us."
"His defense has been good," Corbin said. "He’s still made the right rotations and taking the right shots. The shots will fall — he’s a little frustrated about it, and he should be."
After being demoted to backup, Tinsley said he understood Corbin’s decision to start Watson and that he didn’t take it as a demotion or an insult.
"I’ve been around the block," Tinsley said, "so I understand the business, I understand everything. It is what it is."
However, Tinsley did contradict a piece of his coach’s logic.
"He’s a little banged up," Corbin said, "so we’ll see tonight how much he’ll play coming off [the bench]."
That he was hurt was news to Tinsley, who said, "I’m not banged up."
Tinsley started 32 games as a replacement for Mo Williams, who underwent surgery on his right thumb. In those games, he averaged 4.8 points and 5.4 assists. Watson missed the first 12 games of the season after offseason knee surgery. He averages 6.6 points and 4.5 assists per game.
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