SALT LAKE CITY — Marvin Williams has never played for the Milwaukee Bucks, but he’s got a big fan on that team’s bench.
Larry Drew, the Bucks' head coach, couldn’t help but crack a grin when a question about Williams was posed to him before his team played the Utah Jazz on Thursday at EnergySolutions Arena.
Drew was Williams’ coach in a couple of capacities for seven seasons in Atlanta before both guys left the South for colder climates in Utah and Wisconsin.
“He’s my guy. I love that kid. He’s just a good basketball player, but he’s (also) a terrific kid,” Drew said. “He’s all about the right things as far as playing the right way. He’s going to give you everything he has every time he steps out on the floor. He was one of my favorites while we were in Atlanta.”
Drew was the Hawks’ head coach from 2010-12 after working as an assistant in Atlanta while Williams was there from 2005-10.
Milwaukee’s bench boss is hardly surprised to see Williams move from a small forward to stretch-four role this season.
“Marvin has the size (6 foot 9) where he can play some four (or) move him to the three,” Drew said. “In Atlanta I played him even some at two and moved him around quite a bit.”
After saying that, Drew continued reminiscing about his time with Williams.
“He’s about the right thing. He wants to win. He’s going to play hard. He can shoot the basketball and he just comes to work every day,” Drew said. “He’s one of those guys you really enjoy coaching because he’s not going to be a problem. He’s just a terrific person.”
SOUNDS EASY: Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was jokingly asked about the pronunciation of the Bucks' rookie from Greece, who has one of the most difficult names to say and spell in the NBA.
Here’s how it’s spelled: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Here’s how it’s pronounced per the Bucks’ media guide: YAHN-iss ah-deh-toh-KOON-boh.
Corbin rattled off the name with ease while laughing.
“I spent some time in the summer trying to get it right just in case he came to us,” Corbin said.
The “Greek Freak,” as Antetokounmpo is called, was on the Jazz’s radar but ended up being drafted No. 15 overall by Milwaukee.
Utah eventually ended up with an easier name to say that night: Trey Burke.
IN THE ZONE: Corbin spent part of Thursday’s practice helping the Jazz brush up on playing against a zone, which the Bucks use more often than most NBA teams.
“It’s around,” he said of the zone D. “You just don’t see it on a consistent basis on most nights.”
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