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Notes from recent interviews with the Utah Jazz's Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, Tyrone Corbin and C.J. Miles, as well as NBATV broadcaster and former Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale about the developing relationship between Williams and Jefferson.
Jefferson on his relationship with Williams:There's already a friendship. I've been knowing D on and off for a long time. We pretty much all know each other in this league. He's so serious on the court. But he's a funny guy.
On staying in shape:
I understand that lifting weights and keeping my body in shape is really going to help with the injuries.
Watching film with Williams:He helped me understand what he was talking about. [Monday], during the scrimmage, I did it. I'm catching on real good. He helping me, man. He being real patient with me. And he understand that this is new for me. But I'm learning real fast. I've never watched more film in my life outside of practice.
I think being here with a professional team; coaches who are going to push me make sure I'm in the weight room, doing the things I need to do. I think sky's the limit. I feel like I'm a rookie all over again, just with more knowledge than I had back in . I think it's going to be the beginning of something real special.Williams on Jefferson:I've liked his game since I came in the NBA. He always gave us problems.Getting to know him as a person has been great. Level-headed guy, humble guy. Wants to win, wants to be part of something bigger: a team he really hasn't had a chance at that other than his first year in Boston.Being in Utah [for him] is a blessing.We love having him around because he's a great guy.
On the off-the-court relationship between him and Jefferson:
It's going to start with us because everybody's going to look to us to be there every night on the court, because that's what they need and what they expect. But also off the court, man. I think we have a great group of guys. And he's spearheading that, because he's so easy to get along with and so even keeled. You just know what you're going to get out of him.
What is working:What's working for us is we've got coach Sloan. We've got that guy that's going to keep everybody in line, keep everybody in check. That's the one great thing about this organization. You hear some of the stories about other organizations and you've got a lot of other BS going on ... even off the court. And we don't really have that here. We just come out and play hard. Do your job. And that works for us. That's what we need here.
Still working on:
We've got to work on some things. Definitely some timing issues. This time last year we had our whole offense in and we were rolling. We're still putting [things] in. Coach just came and talked to me about some stuff we're going to put in. It's tough for Al. Because while it's a simple system, it also can be complicated, because a lot of it is reads. If I call a play and I go off but then I step back, it's a whole different play. So, at times he's struggling with that. But he's eager to learn. As long as he errs on the playing-hard side, then there's no problems. We're going to to continue to work on that. But it's not just him it's our whole team right now. Our timing's a little off, but those things will come.Kevin McHale on Jefferson fitting in:Al's going to stay in the post more and probably make Jerry happier. I think Jerry allowed Boozer and those guys to play to their strengths, and that's why Jerry is a good coach. Of course, Jerry's not dumb enough to put a round peg in a square hole and pound the crap out of it.Al complements Deron and can catch everything that Deron can throw. I think it's very relaxing for the point guard to know he can throw bad passes that will be caught and finished by Al.Tyrone Corbin on Jefferson and Williams:What's been working well for them is that they've been communicating. After everything that's successful, they talk about it. After everything that's not as successful, they talk about that also. I think the communication is open between the two guys.
He's been tremendous. I think that he recognizes that he hasn't had as much success as he wants to have in the league. This is an opportunity for him to have a lot of success, and the fan support has been tremendous for him here. I think he's happy to be here and happy to have a chance to win. C.J. Miles on Williams' personal change:
Not that he was ever a bad person. It's just a more conscious effort to do certain things that he wanted to do for his self.
It's obviously rubbed off on some people; teammates and everybody. We have a really good group of guys. He basically just makes us better guys. Took it up a notch. ... We needed that with as many new faces as we have.
Brian T. Smith