Utah Jazz notebook: Marvin Williams adjusting well to new role off the bench

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 6 2015 5:42 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz power forward Marvin Williams (2) dunks as the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics play NBA basketball Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Salt Lake City. 
 (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah Jazz power forward Marvin Williams (2) dunks as the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics play NBA basketball Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SAN ANTONIO — It may have been his quietest 12 minutes of the season, but the fact that Marvin Williams played the entire fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss to Houston spoke volumes about his latest role with the Jazz.

Williams went scoreless with just one 3-point attempt and had no turnovers, but he played solid defense, coming up with a blocked shot and a couple of rebounds to help hold the Rockets to 22.2 percent shooting in the final period. His 12 fourth-quarter minutes were his biggest statistical contribution.

For most of the season, Williams has been a Jazz starter, but seldom has been in at the end of games. For the past eight games, however, he’s come off the bench, but has found himself playing more down the stretches of games.

For Williams, once a No. 2 NBA draft pick, it’s been an adjustment not to be a starter. But as one of the truly good guys on the team, he’s not the type to complain.

“It’s been fine,’’ he said. “If the coach wants me to start, I’ll start. If he wants me to come off the bench, I’ll come off the bench. It’s never been a problem. I think he wants to find certain situations where he wants to play me, but either way I’m fine.’’

Although Williams might have been a bit of a disappointment for the Jazz so far, scoring 7.7 points this year after averaging 11.1 points in his previous seven NBA seasons, coach Tyrone Corbin sings the praises of his 6-foot-9 forward.

“He’s a great guy first of all and he’s a tremendous pro who really takes his job seriously,’’ said Corbin. “He wants to make sure he does everything he can to help himself be the best player he can be and helping his team. He’s a guy that’s going to give you everything he has every night on the floor.’’

As for Williams’ new role off the bench, Corbin said, “He’s responded. It’s an opportunity for him to get more minutes and get the ball in his hands a little more. He’s reading plays well. He’ll continue to play as hard as he can to make whatever he can in a positive way for us.’’

In the past eight games as a non-starter, Williams has been averaging 7.0 points in 23.4 minutes per game — not great numbers — but much better than his previous eight games as a starter when he averaged 4.6 points in just 18.6 minutes.

WHERE’S DEMARRE? One player who has been lost in the shuffle of recent Jazz changes is forward DeMarre Carroll.

From Nov. 16 to March 16, Carroll played in every Jazz game except two and started 12 games, including five in mid-March. However, since Saturday’s game against Memphis, Carroll hasn’t played a minute, even though he’s been healthy.

Corbin said it’s nothing more than “numbers,’’ saying that since Mo Williams has returned to the lineup, he can’t find time for everyone in the lineup.

“It’s where we are right now,’’ Corbin said. “The rotation has changed a little bit, but we still expect everybody to be ready to play with the time they get.’’

NEW GUARDLINE? In the wake of Wednesday’s disappointing defeat in Houston when the Utah Jazz trailed from start to finish, perhaps they found a new guardline — at least one to try down the crucial stretch of games in their playoff push.

For the final 18 minutes of the game when the Jazz came from 27 points down to cut their deficit to five, Alec Burks was the point guard and Gordon Hayward was the shooting guard. Neither player was playing at his natural position, but the tandem was quite effective just because they played hard, according to Corbin.

After Thursday morning’s practice at AT&T Center, Corbin said people may see the same combination again.

“We’ve used then before (together) and we’ll continue to use them, maybe a little bit more,’’ Corbin said. “But we’re looking at everything right now. We’ve got to try everything we have on the wall right now to see what gives us the best chance.’’

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