Utah Jazz: Williams looking forward to return visit to Utah

Published: Friday, Jan. 13 2012 3:00 p.m. MST

Fun is something that he hasn't been having too much of on a Nets team that only had two wins going into Friday's game at Phoenix.

Williams follows the Jazz's progress from afar — and seemed genuinely happy Utah (6-4) has turned it around after a rough start and a nosedive ending to last season.

He regularly checks on the stats of Miles and Millsap, the only remaining members of the conference finals team.

"I definitely miss those guys," Williams said, laughing about how he used to rattle off movie one-liners in the Jazz locker room and smiling about their ongoing friendship.

"I want nothing but the best for them — the coaching staff, too," Williams said. "I played under all of those guys (Tyrone Corbin, Jeff Hornacek and Scott Layden) since I came in the league."

Not being on a team that wins is hard on him.

"I just don't like losing," said Williams, who was ejected Wednesday in Denver after getting two technical fouls on a night he tweaked his ankle. "I don't sleep well when I lose. It affects everything I do. We've just got to turn it around."

After the initial shock of last February's trade, losing has been the hardest part of this whole ordeal for Williams to handle.

"Yeah, that's been the toughest adjustment," he said. "I think with the shortened season and not having training camp, no summer league, we're just behind, just trying to learn everything and nothing has really clicked for us night in and night out. ... I've never lost this much in my career this early, this consistently."

Another thing he's never done?

Played at EnergySolutions Arena wearing a visitor's uniform while somebody else sported No. 8 for Utah.

Williams laughed when asked about new Jazz forward Josh Howard wearing his old number.

"It doesn't matter to me," he said.

Won't be weird at all seeing that?

"No," Williams added, chuckling. "He's a couple inches taller, a couple of shades darker than me."

For what it's worth, Howard will likely be the only No. 8 in the building who won't hear boobirds when his name is announced Saturday night, too.

Who would've ever guessed that scenario a few years ago?

Williams understands the mixed emotions.

It won't, however, change how excited he is to return to the place he used to call home.

Email: jody@desnews.com Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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