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Utah Jazz notebook: Tyrone Corbin says point guard starting job up for grabs

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 23 2011 8:40 p.m. MST

DALLAS — Coach Ty Corbin said the Utah Jazz's suddenly vacant starting point guard position will be up for grabs as soon as newly acquired Devin Harris joins the team.

That won't be the case if Deron Williams' primary backup this season has anything to do with it.

Controversy brewing?

Hardly.

Earl Watson doesn't believe the starting job should be his by default, even though he has been with the team since training camp.

Just the opposite is the case.

Watson hopes Harris takes over the team's No. 1 playmaker role.

"I like my position coming off the bench, changing the game," Watson said prior to starting the Jazz's game at Dallas on Wednesday, hours after Williams was traded to New Jersey.

"I'm comfortable with (being a backup). It's fun. To come in and play with a different type of energy, I think it's a unique position. It's a challenging position, but I embrace it."

Corbin admitted, however, that it might take Harris time to become adept at running the Jazz's complex offense. He said the team will tighten up the playbook while the new guys get up to speed.

And Corbin wasn't ready to name a full-time point guard starter yet.

"When guys come in there's another opportunity for somebody else to step up and they've got to fight for the spot," the new Jazz coach said. "Devin is certainly a capable guy, and Earl is a capable, experienced point guard in this league. We'll see how it goes."

If things go as planned, Harris and big man Derrick Favors could hook up with the Jazz at a practice in Indianapolis tonight and make their debuts in Utah uniforms Friday against the Pacers.

"It's going to be a process of feeling where the team is," Corbin said, "and making sure the guys feel comfortable running things in the game."

At least he won't have a point guard power struggle on his hands.

"My whole thing is I want to stay with what we had working earlier as far as rotations and try to get to where we need to get to," Watson said. "It's hard to change so much this late in the season, so my whole thing is winning. I care less about anything else."

TWO-FOR-NONE: A couple of big reasons center Al Jefferson was most excited about joining the Jazz this past offseason are now gone. In order, that'd be Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and Williams, a two-time All-Star point guard who vowed to help Jefferson became an All-Star.

"I haven't even got over Coach Sloan," Big Al said, "so when they hit me with this it was just like, 'Wow.' I was super surprised."

Jefferson was taking a glass half-full approach in his attitude.

"I got a chance to play for a living legend, and I got chance to play with a great point guard," he said. "I've got another great point guard coming here. We've still got a great group of guys here. I think we still have a chance to make the playoffs and make a run."

NUMBERS GAME: The new Jazz players ordered their jersey numbers Wednesday. Harris will wear No. 5 — most recently used by Carlos Boozer. Favors, meanwhile, will sport No. 15, which Sundiata Gaines and Matt Harpring have worn in recent seasons.

PERSONAL LOSS: After joking that he didn't know what to say, Kyrylo Fesenko became a tad emotional while talking about Williams' departure.

"It's tough," Fesenko said. "He'd become much more than just a guy that I'd play on the same team with. He became a friend, almost family, and it's hard to lose personally that."

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