Utah Jazz: Will Minnesota's Andrei Kirilenko be greeted by cheers or jeers in return to EnergySolutions Arena?

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 1 2013 8:35 p.m. MST

On defense, the quick and lanky 6-foot-9 forward was credited for playing solid defense on his own guy and providing extraordinary assistance on help defense.

Marvin Williams said he's only seen one guy in his NBA career who is as versatile of a player as Kirilenko, and that's his former Atlanta teammate Josh Smith.

"He was really able to help this Jazz team win a lot of games. He's so versatile. He can really shoot the ball. He can pass it. He can guard," Williams said. "He was able to do a lot of things at this position. I'm sure Jazz fans will be excited to see him back here."

Some will be thrilled to applaud the 2004 All-Star, who was instrumental in helping the Jazz make six playoff appearances, including the 2007 Western Conference Finals.

And some won't be so ecstatic to see a player whose Jazz career was riddled with injuries and inconsistencies.

Even so, Corbin and Millsap laughed remembering how Kirilenko was a good locker room guy, who got along with teammates and who always had his nose in some Russian novel.

"Off the court, he was always having fun, joking around," Millsap said. "You can't really see that when you see him, but that's who he is."

Corbin anticipates a positive response for Kirilenko.

"The people really enjoyed his time here. He enjoyed being and interacting with the fans in his time here," Corbin said. "We wish him well. He's with a different team now, but it will be good to see him back on the floor."

And likewise for Kirilenko.

“It’s a big deal. I learned a lot from there,” Kirilenko said. “Jerry (Sloan) is the guy who basically created me and gave me an NBA career, like, it’s a lot of good words about it.”

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