Utah Jazz: Mo Williams, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap will be team's three-headed captain
Williams has been impressed with his fellow captains — by Millsap's day-in-day-out lunch-pail mentality and by Jefferson's continued tutelage of the Turk, Enes Kanter.
"They're different leaders than I am. They lead more so by example, just coming to work and doing their job. Especially Paul," Williams said. "I'll do all the talking for the both of them, but at the same time they come in, they work, they play hard."
Even if they aren't barking out commands or delivering impassioned speeches, other players watch how they conduct business — over and over and over with a persistent professionalism — and want to emulate that hardworking style.
Corbin trusts this group to lift up players who might be dejected over struggles or their minutes. He wants them to constantly monitor teammates and have a "feel for the team," to be compassionate and critical when needed. They'll be counted on to push and encourage while busting their own behinds. Ideally, they'll act as mediators, although Corbin laughingly admitted he'll hear grumbling one way or another.
"A true leader knows what's best for the team and not what's best for the individual," Corbin said. "And they vocalize that to their teammates."
Or sometimes they simply show them á la Millsap, who's grown considerably in multiple aspects since arriving in Utah with a chip on his shoulder out of Louisiana Tech in 2006.
"He's a tremendous worker and always has been. He's a good guy that's worked within himself," Corbin said of Millsap. "To see him blossom out more, to take on a leadership role and be able to help his teammates by talking to them more, because he's going to do it himself (and) to encourage and pull the guys along with him is a great growth for him."
Corbin is always hesitant to put one of his players above another, and that was again evident before he revealed his captains.
"This," he said, "is a great group of guys, first of all."
The captains agree, which is why a Media Day quote from Millsap still rings true four weeks after this team started practicing.
"It's everybody's team. We're all in this together," Millsap said. "We're all trying to reach the same goals, so it's everybody's team. Everybody's gonna come out and treat it that way. This is a more team-oriented organization right now."
That's regardless of who may or may not be wearing the letter "C."
Williams, who's been to the Eastern Conference Finals with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, is a firm believer that good leadership in the NBA translates into more wins.
"Absolutely. Because what it does, it improves the chemistry on the team. It improves obviously the character of the whole team, because it shows people do want to get better and it's not an individual thing," he said. "Everybody (is) lending a hand and giving up themselves for the betterment of the team."
And if not, one of the captains, probably him, will be sure to tell them about it.
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