Jazz: Williams wants to show leadership at Revue
Been there, done that: Jazz's second-year point guard will try to help the young guys
By Steve Luhm
The Salt Lake Tribune
One player on the Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue roster isn't trying desperately to earn an invitation to training camp in October or working feverishly to establish a niche alongside teammates like Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur.
Re-introducing Deron Williams.
A second-year point guard from Illinois, Williams put to bed any doubt about his future with the Jazz last season, when a strong finish landed him on the NBA All-Rookie first team.
Williams' second season starts tonight, when the Jazz open Rocky Mountain Revue play at 7 p.m., against Atlanta at Salt Lake Community College.
Williams' goals for the summer league are simple.
"Get some good workouts in and play in a couple of games," he said. "Help the young guys out. I know I was in that position last year. I didn't know what to expect. So, hopefully, I can be a leader."
Fine with coach Jerry Sloan.
"Deron is probably not going to play 40 minutes [a game]," he said. "But we'd like to see him play a little. We'd like to see him be in charge of the team a little bit - see his leadership, I guess you'd say."
One season into his NBA career and one month after his 22nd birthday, Williams sounds ready to take over.
"Eighty-two games is a lot of games," he said. "I've been through some things those other guys haven't."
Told Sloan wants him to lead the Jazz's team in the Rocky Mountain Revue, Williams shrugged and said, "That's what I do. . . . You can't teach leading. It's just something you do and it's one of my qualities."
This Rocky Mountain Revue will be critical in the development of three players the Jazz hope can contribute during the upcoming season: Rafael Araujo, C.J. Miles and Ronnie Brewer.
To a lesser extent, Robert Whaley and second-round draft picks Dee Brown and Paul Millsap could also be put on that list.
"We've got to give these guys as much experience as we can," Sloan said. "We've got to get them as comfortable as we can so, when they come back in the fall, they have a pretty good idea what we're doing."
The Jazz started summer camp with 17 players, but rookie center James Lang was sent home Tuesday because of high blood pressure.
Sloan isn't planning to keep 16 players for the Revue. He expects to cut two or three players before tonight's summer league opener.
"We are always a little concerned about numbers," Sloan said. "We've been in the position before of not having enough guys to finish the games, with injuries and guys leaving and things like that. But we've got to be fair to everyone, too."
Araujo, a true center, will get a long look from Sloan and his staff.
Acquired in June from Toronto for Kris Humphries and Whaley - who was immediately waived by the Raptors - Araujo has a chance to earn some minutes with the smallish Jazz after two unproductive seasons in Canada.
"My goal right now is to learn the system of Coach Sloan," Araujo said, "so, come October, I know a little more about it and what he wants me to do."
A star during his college years at Brigham Young, Araujo is happy
to be back in Utah, which would have taken him had he slipped to No. 14 in the 2004 draft. Instead, Toronto took him at No. 8
"I learned a lot in Toronto," Araujo said, "but I wish I was here two years ago."
Said Sloan: "He's done a good job to this point . . . [But] he needs experience as far as what we're doing. Our style is a little different than what he's accustomed to."
Like Araujo, Brewer likely will get plenty of playing time for this summer's Jazz.
When the Jazz used the 14th pick in the draft on Brewer, Sloan said his versatility was one of the reasons. Utah hopes Brewer can play three positions in the NBA - shooting guard, point guard and small forward.
"We want to play him as much as possible," Sloan said, "so he can move forward."
Miles already has made giant strides since his rookie season.
He reported to summer camp weighing 217 pounds - 19 more than he weighed in April - and has impressed Sloan with his grasp of the game.
"I want to get out there, play hard and make my presence known," Miles said. "I want to show how much better of a player I am."
Experience helps, apparently.
"My confidence is much higher," Miles said. "After a year in the system, I know what to expect. I'm not worried as much about making a mistake, doing something that's going to cost me time on the court. . . . I know what's going on."
Rocky Mountain Revue schedule
All games at Salt Lake Community College
3 p.m. - Philadelphia vs. Seattle; 5 p.m. - Dallas vs. San Antonio; 7 p.m. - Jazz vs. Atlanta
3 p.m. - San Antonio vs. Seattle; 5 p.m. - Atlanta vs. Dallas; 7 p.m. - Jazz vs. Philadelphia
3 p.m. - Dallas vs. Philadelphia; 5 p.m. - San Antonio vs. Atlanta; 7 p.m. - Jazz vs. Seattle
3 p.m. - Philadelphia vs. San Antonio; 5 p.m. - Atlanta vs. Seattle; 7 p.m. - Jazz vs. Dallas
3 p.m. - Philadelphia vs. Seattle; 5 p.m. - Dallas-San Antonio; 7 p.m. - Jazz vs. Atlanta
Friday, July 21
3 p.m. - Philadelphia vs. Atlanta; 5 p.m. - Dallas vs. Seattle; 7 p.m. - Jazz vs. San Antonio
Available on game days at the SLCC ticket window starting at 2 p.m., or in advance at www.utahjazz.com
. Prices are $8 for adults, $4 for children.