CHICAGO — Marvin Williams doesn't view his move out of the starting lineup as a demotion.
"I'm not a guy with an ego. I'm not an NFL quarterback," Williams said. "Whatever Coach feels like he needs to do. That's been my M.O. from Day 1. I've been criticized for that, but that's fine with me. I'll play to win, so if this helps us win, that's fine."
Mr. Positive isn't about to grumble about it to Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, either.
That's just not his style.
So when Corbin informed Williams earlier this week he was considering making a lineup switch and then formalized it Wednesday, he received zero resistance from the guy who's been Utah's starting small forward in 51 of the 54 games he's played.
"I told him I was fine with him doing it. He's never going to hear any complaints out of me," Williams said. "Whatever can help this team win. We're on a fine line right now in that eighth spot. We're trying to make the playoffs, so if this will help us make them playoffs, I'm all for it."
Though he's gone 0 for 11 in his last three games and has only hit double figures in scoring six times in 2013, Williams insists he isn't in a slump.
"I don't feel like I'm struggling," the eighth-year veteran said.
If given shooting opportunities, an 0-for-4 game could turn into a 5-for-10 night, he pointed out.
"You've just got to do your job. I've been on the bench before. I've been a starter before," he said. "Whenever you get in there, you've just got to make the most of your minutes and that's what I've got to try to do when I get out there."
Williams voiced his support for his replacement, DeMarre Carroll.
"DeMarre's been doing a great job for us all year," he said. "And I'm sure he'll continue to as soon as he gets comfortable out there with that first five."
Williams said he expects he'll do even better the next time Corbin puts him in as backup power forward, which was his role during Wednesday's 104-101 loss at Cleveland.
That opportunity, however, will be limited with the return of center Al Jefferson after a three-game absence. Big-man minutes will be gobbled up by Big Al, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter as long as they all stay healthy.
QUICK ASSESSMENT: For the most part, Corbin liked what he saw in Mo Williams' return Wednesday after the starting point guard had missed the previous 32 games with a thumb injury.
The Jazz coach reiterated that there will be an adjustment period, but even on a couple of occasions when things didn’t turn out in Utah's favor, Corbin was positive about plays Williams made. That included an errant transition pass to Carroll on the first play and then the burst of speed Williams showed during his infamous layup miss with five seconds remaining.
"To get where he got from to the basket so quickly, although he missed the layup, it's kind of what we missed," Corbin said. "We've got some things to work on, but I like what we saw."
Williams said his thumb responded well to his first live NBA action in 2 1/2 months.
PATIENTLY WAITING: The Jazz continue to take a better-to-wait-than-rush approach to bringing players back from injuries.
Case in point: Jefferson.
Big Al sprained his ankle while stepping on Favors' foot a week ago Wednesday, and he ended up missing three games due to the injury.
Jefferson wanted to get back into the swing of things in Utah's game at Cleveland on Wednesday, but the training staff held him back one extra game.1 comment on this story
Jefferson is listed as a game-time decision but said he's "pretty confident" he'll play tonight at Chicago. It killed him to be out so long, but he agrees that it was for his best.
"I think I felt like I could've played (Wednesday) night, but your mind might have been telling you one thing and your body another thing," Jefferson said. "It was smart to do it the way I just did, get a good practice in (Thursday) and see how I'm going to feel (today)."
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