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'Mo' leadership just what the Utah Jazz needed

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 8:01 p.m. MDT

"That's one thing I loved about Jerry. People can say all they want about him cussing and whining and all that, but one thing he'd do is he'd pick you up. He'd tell you when you'd do something good, and he's the best cheerleader. I think Ty has all those qualities — he's been around Jerry a lot — and he's going to correlate that to what we're doing now."

Corbin certainly likes what he sees in Williams, who has averaged double-digit scoring every year he's been in the league since leaving the Jazz, including three straight seasons of 17-plus points.

Over the last six seasons, Williams has averaged between 13.2 and 17.8 points per game, plus more than five assists per game in four of those seasons even though he wasn't always his team's starter.

Corbin also appreciates what the feisty 6-foot-1 point guard brings to the Jazz ballclub, and the improvements Mo has made in his game since that summer they spent working together eight years ago.

"I like his speed and the way that he can navigate guys on the floor," Corbin said. "He sees things early and advances the ball and then makes a play off that, so he gives us a little bit more versatility. He's got more confidence now. His shooting has gotten better, more consistent, and he's a very good 3-point shooter with his feet set.

"He's a better one-on-one attacker than he was at that point; he was more of a controlled guy back then because he was feeling his way through it," the Jazz coach said of the 2004 version of Williams. "But now, he knows what he's doing and has a good feel for when to go, when to pull back, when to get other guys involved and who to go to in different situations."

Jazz big man Al Jefferson likes the way Williams has come in and, in his first training camp with the team, immediately taken charge.

"Mo's a great leader, man," Jefferson said. "He just got here and he's already the voice of the team. He's a guy that knows what it takes to win; he's got a winning attitude, he's going to push us.

"The GM and the front office, they did a great job this offseason bringing the guys in," he said of Utah's acquisitions of Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye.

Mo Williams, who'll turn 30 in December, mentioned three key ingredients he brings to the ballclub.

"I bring toughness, and obviously I spread the floor and can shoot the ball, and leadership. I think those three things kind of categorize me," he said.

And unlike some NBA players who have shunned the state in the past, he's glad to be back in Utah.

"Absolutely," he said. "It's good to be back. I feel at home here. I've always followed how they did and stayed in touch with people over the years. This is the organization that drafted me, so when you draft a player, you go and look at their background and you know everything about them, so there's nothing that they don't know about me."

And there's one thing the Jazz certainly seem to know about him now: They're a better team with him than they were without him.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com

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