Locker Room Cleanout Part 1: Marvin Williams, John Lucas III, Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans
** What was it like trying to prepare to play stretch four when you were coming off an Achilles injury and couldn’t change your body?
It was different for me. It was definitely different for me, but you know, coach and I, when I was getting closer to getting back, you know, he kinda mentioned it to me and I told him I would accept it; it wouldn’t be a problem at all. But you know, he really helped me out. Man, I was always down there, you know, trying to rehab an Achilles, and at the same time I’m banging with guys that are 20-30 lbs. stronger than me. So this summer I’ll be better prepared for it if I do come back and try to play that position again.
** You’ve never been an unrestricted free agent. Now what?
I’m not sure…I’ll take a couple of weeks off and kinda rest my body a little bit, and recuperate. And then, you know, we’ll figure it out from there.
Will you be ring-hunting? What’s your preference?
I prefer to be comfortable. You know, whatever position I’m in and whatever situation I go to, I just wanna be comfortable. I wanna have fun playing basketball, and you know, the last two seasons I’ve definitely had a ton of fun playing here, for sure.
** Is this where you want to be?
I’ve said that all year along. You know, obviously, you know, we’re in a rebuilding stage, but you know, the way the Jazz organization has treated me, the way this community has treated me since I’ve been here, you know, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. So, obviously I understand that in professional sports, things happen, but I’ve made it very clear that I would like to return here if possible.
** What needs to change for this team to take the next step?
Just continue to get older. I mean, you got a lot of young guys out there this year. So, just gotta continue to get older, continue to play more, continue to experience different situations, and they’ll continue to get better and better each year.
** What was said at your exit interview?
You know, just talking about the situation. You know, they decided to go young, and you know, let the young guys get as many reps and playing time as they can, you know, with the season we’ve having. So I understood that. No, you know, no hard feelings. You know, I wanted to play, wanted to be more in the rotation, but at the end of the day, you know, I come out here and I do my job. Make sure I push the guys in practice. Continue to be a all-around professional. A great pro. So, that’s what I brought.
** Do you have a sense of your status for next year?
I’m always gonna be okay. I know what I can do. I know I’m ca–I know what I can do on the court. And you know, I know I can do off the court. So, to me, I never worry about, when, at the end of the season, I don’t worry about if Imma have a job next year. Like, I’m fine, you know? I walk by faith, and you know, I feel like God put me in this position…I always look at, you know, everything as a learning situation. This year, I learned about, you know, you ain’t get that much playing time like you normally do, but you also got to mentor the young guys.
** Did you enjoy playing the mentor role?
I was just showing, like, everyday I’m, I try to come in to practice to destroy whoever was in front of me, from Trey [Burke] to D[iante] G[arrett] to Ian [Clark] to B[randon] Rush to everybody. You know, showing them, like, look, practice is just like the game. The way you practice is the way you gonna play in the game. And if you think you just coming into practice just half-assing it, then that’s what you gonna do in the game.
** Other than Vegas,* what are your off-season plans?
You know, getting ready for my wedding. So that’s exciting. Just looking for this next chapter in my life, you know?
** You are the most social man in the world. How many people are you inviting?
We made it a destination wedding so we can cut down a lot of people, so it’s just close family and friends. Just a real intimate wedding in Jamaica.
* Some of the players, including Lucas, Rush, Garrett, Burke, Ian Clark and Malcolm Thomas are heading to Vegas together later today.
** Do you have anything you’ll say to the Jazz about, “If I’m coming back, we gotta…”
I think we should have utilized our athleticism, as far as our speed getting out in transition. I think our pace of play has to increase. And to some extent, that wasn’t necessarily, I mean, a lot of that is determined by defense…Trying to get out and increase our pace of play would be a little better, but we do have two bigs, so. We play with [Derrick] Fav[ors] and Enes [Kanter] a lot, and it would be hard to run with that.
** Do you want to be back?
You know, it’s a business. I understand it’s a business, and whatever happens happens…Can’t thank everybody in Utah enough for what they’ve given me so far, so we’ll take it from there.
** Would you tell the Jazz not to match an offer sheet?
I mean, that’s something that you look at down the road, and, based off of decisions that are made, and you can make that decision…We’ll see what my options are. I think you gotta keep an open mind, and go from there.
** Could you please give me (David Locke) a rundown of your off-season?
So, I’m going to the Philippines, like, next week, to do, like, a junior NBA little coaching thing, I guess. And then I get back, and turn around and pretty much get married. And after that, I mean, you start talking about negotiations, and have to start working out to do the Team USA, try to get ready for Team USA so I can make that team. And if I do make that team, I’ll be gone from end of July ’til September, middle of September.
** Did your contract situation weigh on you this season?
Not at all. Put it out of my mind once we didn’t get the deal done, and haven’t thought about it.
** What are you going to work on this summer?
Shooting for one, and that’s probably making contested shots more than anything. Mid-range shots. Finishing at the rim. And ball-handling.
** What did you see from Tyrone Corbin this year?
Well, I thought Ty did a good job for the position he’s put in. You know, it’s a tough position when you try to go young and you’re trying to win games. And I thought he did a great job of teaching us things. You know, we continued to work all season.
** (New) Over the course of the season, you went from taking “number one option shots” to picking your spots. Did the coach talk to you about that or was it something you took upon yourself?
I think a little bit of both. I, also, again, I mean, we didn’t have a couple of our guys in the lineup [at the beginning of the season], so having them back helped me out, so you know, everything was directed defensively all on me. And it started opening things up a little bit more and I didn’t have to do everything…I’m still learning [when to pick my spots].
** (New) How different was it this year for you without Jeff Hornacek helping you?
I mean, Jeff’s my guy, so. He was great for me. He was great for Jeremy [Evans] as well, [and] Alec [Burks]. He was great for a lot of the people here. But you know, they had some other assistants that stepped up. I really worked with Johnnie Bryant a lot, and coach Brad Jones. So, they just kind of stepped in and played that role. It’s been about the same.
** What’d you prove?
That I can play. That I’m going to be a pretty good 4-man if I pick up some weight.
So you don’t think you need to become a “three”?
No, I can become a three. I think I’ll, you know, maybe get more minutes and better time at the three position, but you know, if I gotta play the four, you know, so be it. I’ll go out there.
** What’s it like when you’re, like, higher than everybody else?
It’s kinda scary sometimes, especially when you got guys under you. Or, you know, you never know how, what kind of foul they might, you know, try to do. So, I feel like, but once you’re up there, a lot of people, they won’t jump. Like, couple times last night, I had the ball and I was like, man, this guy’s not even gonna jump. Like, and after that, you know, it’s over with. So, it just feels great.
** What has to happen for this franchise to improve?
Just keep playing hard, and playing together. You know, I feel like so many times we were right there, just, you know, gotta get a little more focused and just being mentally ready, and prepared.
** On Gordon Hayward
Of course we’d love to have him back. I don’t know what I’ll do without him. So, I’ll see how that will go, but I’ll be happy, you know, to see him come back.