Williams had his toughness pounded into him when he played his rookie season for Sloan after being picked No. 47 overall in 2003, but initially his parents instilled a tough attitude in him. He watched his dad come home from one job when he left for school. Then his mom left for her work, and his dad was off again to toil away when she returned.
"I watched my parents battle, work night shift, work two jobs," Williams said. "That's toughness. That's toughness. ... That's something, it all carries over from your parents and I was fortunate to have both parents in my life. My dad's very demanding and I think that's where I get it from."
His Jazz bosses, teammates and fans can expect that competitive fire and work ethic from a guy who has evolved since he first arrived in Utah as a 20-year-old.
Williams said toughness makes a difference on the final night of a four-games-in-five-days stretch or when you are in a losing streak and need to tweak some stuff in practice to get things back in order.
"You know what toughness is going to do?" Williams asked. "Toughness is going to get you on the court and get some work in to get better even though you don't want to do it. That's my definition of toughness."
Williams believes the Jazz have that brand of toughness, too, even if Tyrone Corbin is now the head coach instead of Sloan. That's one of the reasons Williams opted in the final season of his deal to allow the trade from the Clippers to happen.
"I'm a realist, so when the opportunity arose, he didn't hesitate. (O'Connor) came looking for me," Williams said. "The opportunity was there and we felt like this is it, it's time to come back, and we got it done."
Williams couldn't be more excited to lead a team that includes a frontcourt foursome of Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, and he likes young guys like Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks as well.
"The way I play, it goes with this roster makeup," Williams said. "The way we do it, it will blend together. It will be great."
He only has one year left on his contract, but Williams hopes that his new group can mesh together for years to come. Asked if he plans on staying here for the long term, he smiled, "That's the goal. Absolutely."
O'Connor quickly added, "It's ours too."
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