Salt City Hoops » Paul Millsap http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:09:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops no The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops » Paul Millsap http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com Where Are They Now? Former Utah Jazz Players http://saltcityhoops.com/where-are-they-now-former-utah-jazz-players/ http://saltcityhoops.com/where-are-they-now-former-utah-jazz-players/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:41:42 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12782 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

It’s always interesting for fans to keep an eye on those who once donned the Utah Jazz uniform. After another busy offseason around the league, here is the full list of where former Jazzmen are playing, and some thoughts about their upcoming seasons.

DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks: Last season, the gritty forward enjoyed a career-year. After toiling for four teams in four seasons, Carroll may have found a home with the Hawks. He posted 11.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.5 SPG, complete with some great defense (2.6 DWS) and shooting (.575 TS%). Carroll still just had a 13.9 PER and is probably better suited playing just a touch less than the 32.1 MPG he played. He has been effusive in his praise of new Jazz coach Quin Snyder, citing his efforts as a big catalyst for his improvement.

Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks: The sharp-shooting forward had another solid season, putting up 12.0 PPG, 2.9 APG and 4.0 RPG for the Hawks. Korver’s stellar marksmanship (47.5 percent field goals, 47.2 percent on 3s and 92.6 percent from the line) paced the NBA with a .653 True Shooting Percentage. Add in a 5.9 WS, and you can see Korver’s importance for Atlanta. Look for him to do much of the same this year. While he fell short of making the USA FIBA team, Korver’s value has managed to increase as his career progresses.

Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks: When Al Horford went down with a season-ending injury, Paul Millsap stepped up in a major way. Sporting a nice 3-point touch, his 17.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.7 SPG and 1.1 BPG were enough to earn his first-ever All-Star appearance. Many of his advanced numbers mirrored his remarkable consistency during his Jazz days, so it was refreshing to see him earn that accolade at last. Even so, there still is a feeling that Millsap is underrated. He’s even been mentioned on some “Most Likely to be Traded” lists out there, perhaps due in part to his expiring $9.5 million  contract. If Atlanta is smart, they will hold on to the do-it-all forward.

Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn Nets: Injuries plagued AK-47, but he still added value to a Brooklyn bench that struggled at times. Kirilenko has definitely lost some of the zip that made his one of the NBA’s most unique players for years. He averaged just 5.0 PPG last year, but showed he can still facilitate. At just $3.3 million, he is a solid guy for the Nets to have.

Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets: It certainly was a down year for Deron Williams. Across the board, his numbers were his worst since his first season. He’s dropped from 21.0 PPG to 18.9 to 14.3 the past three years (8.7 APG to 7.7 to 6.1). Given the additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kirilenko, optimism was high that DWill would be the quarterback of a veteran-laden team that would compete with the Heat and Pacers. Instead, injuries really hurt his game. At just 29, Williams can bounce back. Given the Brooklyn market, and the fact that he’s in line to earn $63 million over the next three years, the pressure is on. By many accounts, new coach Lionel Hollins plans to funnel most of the offense through Williams.

Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats: Like Millsap, it was wonderful to see Jefferson earn the praise that he’s deserved for many years. He was the key to the Bobcats’ resurgence, as he provided a bonafide scoring threat inside– 21.8 PPG and 10.8 RPG. Head coach Steve Clifford used him well on both ends, helping him be a big part of their defensive identity. Evidence: Big Al’s career-high 4.7 DWS. Strangely enough, he did not make the All-Star team, but garnered All-NBA Third Team honors. With an excellent offseason, Charlotte is poised to make another jump in the Eastern Conference with Jefferson as the focal point. While his three-year, $41 million contract opened some eyes, most view it as a bargain for his production and leadership.

Marvin Williams, Charlotte Bobcats: Always a terrific locker room presence and solid on-court performer, it was difficult to see Marvin Williams depart Salt Lake City. He did everything that was asked of him, even developing into a good stretch four for the Jazz. Williams inked a two-year, $14 million deal with Charlotte to reunite with Jefferson and return to his collegiate home. With his combination of stout defense, improved rebounding and outside shooting, he will add a lot to the Bobcats. He will compete for a starting position.

John Lucas III, Cleveland Cavaliers: Lucas struggled with Utah. With Trey Burke’s early injury, he was thrust into the ill-suited role of starter and he never really recovered from that poor start. Diante Garrett quickly usurped him in the Jazz’s pecking order. Whether or not he makes the Cleveland roster remains to be determined. It sounds like he will be given the chance, with only Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova being the only other point guards in the fold.

Erik Murphy, Cleveland Cavaliers: Murphy, too, is facing an uphill battle. The Cavs seemingly dealt for Lucas, Murphy and Malcolm Thomas to use as trade filler in any Kevin Love deal,  then ended up holding on to all three of them. Along the way, Murphy’s contract was guaranteed.

Malcolm Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers: By some accounts, Thomas seems like a player Cleveland is genuinely interested in keeping and using. With his blend of athleticism and length, he seems like a low-cost, potentially decent-reward guy to have at the end of the bench for the Cavs.

Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks: Harris returned to his original NBA team and while injuries affected his season, he seemed to thrive in the third guard role for Dallas. Harris chipped in 7.9 PPG and 4.5 APG off the pine, with his 31.0 AST% being his best since his New Jersey days. He re-signed for a modest contract and will be a valuable cog for a Mavericks team that could surprise, thanks to a very good offseason that also saw Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson join its ranks.

Richard Jefferson, Dallas Mavericks: Like Marvin Williams, Jefferson too put forth a resurgent effort. After languishing in Golden State, he started for Utah and showed that he still had some gas in the tank. With Vince Carter’s departure to Memphis, Jefferson could fill the role of a shooter off the bench. Signing him for the veteran’s minimum was another solid move for Dallas.

Randy Foye, Denver Nuggets: Foye had a nice lone season in Utah and did even better in his first with Denver. With other guards being hit with injuries, the Nuggets relied on him more than expected. With 13.2 PPG and 3.5 APG, Foye did his best to help Denver remain in the playoff picture for a good part of the season. With Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson coming back and Arron Afflalo’s return to the Mile High City, Foye may be back in a super sub role – one in which he does quite well.

Brandon Rush, Golden State Warriors: One year after being traded to Utah by the Warriors, Rush made his way back to the Bay Area. Given his lackluster play and poor body language in Utah, his heart was probably always in Golden State. If he can recapture some of his former self, he can be a solid perimeter addition to the Warriors bench.

C.J.Miles, Indiana Pacers: Despite playing nine NBA seasons, Miles is shockingly just 27. He had his best 3-point shooting seasons with the Cavaliers, which is the likely reason Indiana added him. He was to be a much-needed shooter for the Pacers, but with Paul George’s devastating injury, Miles may be asked to assume a bigger role – perhaps even starting. It will be interesting to see if Miles can seize this opportunity.

Carlos Boozer, Los Angeles Lakers: Carlos Boozer’s 2013-14 season was quite forgettable. His 13.7 PPG and 8.3 RPG were the lowest of his career since his rookie campaign. His 14.4 PER was by far the worst of his 12 seasons. The biggest stat for the Chicago Bulls was the $13.5 million he was set to make during the upcoming season. With the continued improvement of Taj Gibson and the additions of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic, Boozer was an amnesty casualty.

Enter the Los Angeles Lakers. It is hard to determine what this franchise’s direction is. They added a slew of players to join the returning-from-injury Kobe Bryant, seemingly in hopes to provide enough firepower to compete in the Western Conference. Boozer will be looked on for some much-needed scoring. That said, with the glut of power forwards on the roster, it remains to be seen how much playing time the two-time All-Star will see. Especially when his age (32) and defense are taken into consideration.

Kosta Koufos, Memphis Grizzlies: After several underrated good years for Denver, Koufos brought some solid play to the Memphis front court. With 6.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 16.9 MPG, he provided depth behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. His shooting took a dip last season, but a 16.5 PER for your back-up is still very good; ditto the 3.5 WS and 18.4 TRB% (22.7 DRB%). He will continue to provide quality minutes and can step in to start, when needed.

Kyrylo Fesenko, Minnesota Timberwolves: Big Fes was a fan favorite during his four seasons. He had his moments and showed defensive potential. His immaturity, though, was an issue. After appearing in just three NBA the past three seasons, Fesenko is embarking on a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He impressed enough in summer league to earn a training camp invite. Given the rebuilding roster, the 7’1″, 288 lb gargantuan center might have a chance to stick.

Othyus Jeffers, Minnesota Timberwolves: The energetic Jeffers has made the rounds since finishing up the 2010 season with Utah. He hooked on with Minnesota right before the end of the last year and is still listed on its roster.

Mo Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves: After seeing success in a back-up role with the surprising Portland Trailblazers, Williams opted out of his contract and found the market wasn’t too kind. When things settled down, he inked a deal with Minnesota. It was a perplexing signing, with Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine and, until they ship him out, J.J. Barea in tow. Given the dramatically changed roster, perhaps Mo will be looked on for veteran leadership.

Diante Garrett, Portland Trailblazers: After being a pleasant addition to the Jazz last year, he was unfortunately traded to Toronto in the Steve Novak transaction. After being waived by the Raptors, he signed a non-guaranteed contract with Portland in hopes of sticking. With his size and improved outside shooting, he would be a nice player to have on the bench, even with the guards the Blazers already have.

Wesley Matthews, Portland Trailblazers: After three solid seasons, Matthews made a little jump last season, enjoying his best year as a professional. His first half of the season was especially torrid, as he was shooting lights out. There was even talk of him making the Western Conference All-Star team. He finished the year averaging 16.4 PPG, while making 2.5 3s per outing. He leapt from 4.7 WS to 8.2 last year (going from 3.6 to 6.3 on OWS). Working with Damian Lillard, Matthews is part of a very potent back court that is among the best in the league.

Kris Humphries, Washington Wizards: While the Boston Celtics had a rebuilding year, Humphries had a quietly solid bounce-back season. He chipped in 8.4 PPG and 5.9 RPG in just 19.9 MPG, along with .552 TS% and 4.1 WS. Washington is a team on the rise and Humphries adds another capable back-up to their front court.

There are several others who are still out there without NBA contracts: Ronnie Brewer, Earl Watson, Ronnie Price, Eric Maynor, Andris Biedrins, Jamaal Tinsley, Mike Harris, Josh Howard, Lou Amundson. With the exception of Howard, all spent time on NBA rosters last season.

And just for fun, here are some former Jazzmen in the NBA’s coaching ranks:

Jarron Collins, Los Angeles Clippers: Collins will get his first chance as an NBA assistant coach. Always respected for his attitude and demeanor, it is nice to see him getting this opportunity with Doc Rivers and one of the league’s contending teams.

Howard Eisley, Los Angeles Clippers: Eisley continues in his role with the Clippers. He seems to be a valued part of the staff; no surprise, given his basketball knowledge.

Derek Fisher, New York Knicks: After 18 seasons and five championships, Derek Fisher was not unemployed for long. Phil Jackson plucked him up quickly, signing him to a five-year, $25 million pact. That’s a lot of scratch for someone who’s never coached at any level (though the same applies to Golden State’s deal with Steve Kerr). It will be very interesting to see what Fisher does in the Big Apple and the inherent scrutiny that exists therein. The Knicks roster does not do much to inspire.

Jacque Vaughn, Orlando Magic: Entering his third season in charge, the expectations are again low for Vaughn’s team to produce Ws. What they are looking for is continued player and talent development. That sounds familiar.

Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns: Hornacek and his upstart Suns were among the NBA’s best stories last season. In his first year as head coach, Hornacek defied the most optimistic of expectations out there by producing an entertaining brand of basketball that got them within a breath of the postseason. Almost to a man, each Phoenix player had career-years–from established veterans like Goran Dragic and Channing Frye, to guys who were seemingly discarded in Miles Plumlee, P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green. The bar was set high. Can Hornacek build upon the momentum there in Phoenix? It would be tough to bet against him.

Tyrone Corbin, Sacramento Kings: Much has been said about Tyrone Corbin’s tenure as Utah’s head coach. There were ups and downs. Corbin gave his all and dedicated the past 12 years to the franchise. While he had struggles at the helm, he was largely considered one of the NBA’s best assistant coaches prior to replacing Jerry Sloan. Corbin should succeed in Sacramento as the lead assistant there, bringing professionalism to a talented Kings roster.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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How are Former Jazzmen Doing? http://saltcityhoops.com/how-are-former-jazzmen-doing/ http://saltcityhoops.com/how-are-former-jazzmen-doing/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 21:33:13 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=10255 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Jesse Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Jesse Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

At Jerry Sloan night, one of the exciting things for many fans was seeing many familiar faces – guys who once donned the Utah Jazz uniform. They helped bring back many fond memories. There are many former Jazz players playing for other teams, many of whom help us hearken to good times. Here’s a run-down of how they are doing. Some are thriving, some are struggling.

Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks

One of Jazz fans’ most beloved players, Millsap is getting his turn in the sun. When front court stalwart Al Horford went down with a season-ending injury, he rose to the occasion and has kept Atlanta in contention for home court advantage in the playoffs. Recently named an Eastern Conference All-Star, he is finally getting at least a portion of the recognition he has long-deserved.  Millsap’s numbers are very close to his Utah ones–and the argument could be made that he should’ve earned those honors in the West. He certainly deserves this.

Millsap is posting career-highs in pts (17.5), assists (2.9) and steals (1.9). Always the analytics community’s darling, some of his advanced stats have actually decreased (career-lows with .542 TS%, .494 eFG% and 4.4 WS). His usage has increased to 25.3, which is a definite factor. The main difference has been his ability to hit the 3-pointer. He is shooting 35%, making nearly one per outing. He showed that ability on occasion in Utah (including the great Miracle in Miami game). He could become an All-Star regular out East.

Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks

In his 11th season, Korver is playing a career-high 34.3 MPG, but that extra PT is not affecting his sweet shooting stroke at all. His jump shot is improving with age and his contract is looking great for the Hawks. He leads the NBA with a .661 TS%, while also producing a stellar .638 eFG%. His 46.3% 3FG% would constitute the second best mark of his career. The rest of Korver’s game has always been a bit underrated.  While he doesn’t wow the world, he has always been a willing defender, rebounder and passer. Korver is adding 4.3 RPG and 3.1 APG, while registering a 4.0 WS.

DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks

The last of the former Jazzmen in Atlanta, Carroll is having a banner year. Like Millsap and Korver, he is part of the Hawks starting line-up. He is tallying 10.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 1.5 SPG in 30.7 MPG. His per/36 minutes stats are actually right in line with what he did in 2012-2013. His hustle and defensive effort have been integral to Atlanta’s solid season.

Kris Humphries, Boston Celtics

Yes, he’s still playing. While his numbers will never be balanced compared to his contact, Humphries is scoring 7.8 PPG and 6.0 RPG in a bench role for a team that is Utah’s competition for ping pong balls. Hard to believe he is just 28 years old–seems like he’s been around for ages.

Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets

It has been a season to forget for DWill. Williams was to be the engine of a team boasting former All-Stars and strong depth.  That has not quite materialized, although things are starting to pick-up. Thanks to seemingly endless injury issues, he has never scored (13.5 PPG) or assisted less (6.9 APG) since his rookie campaign. His WS is just 2.1. Williams is in the midst of a five-year, $98 million deal. While the Nets owner is beyond wealthy, the Nets brain trust has to hope he can regain his health and rejoin the ranks of the elite point guards.

Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn Nets

AK-47 is still a utility guy…he just does things on a much smaller scale these days. He too has been plagued with injuries that have not allowed him to truly thrive. Essentially every one of Kirilenko’s statistics are career-lows. He still makes good things happen, as he’s been a cog in Brooklyn’s solid January. But it’s hard to see him playing many more seasons after this one.

Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Once again, Big Al was on the outside looking in when the All-Star reserves were named. Jefferson is posting a nightly double-double (19.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG) while providing the best post presence the Bobcats have ever enjoyed. He is scoring more than he has since 2009 and is working hard to help Charlotte get back to the postseason. And he still never turns the ball over (6.7 TOV%).

Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls

It seems like everywhere Boozer has gone, he has produced. But everywhere he’s gone, he’s also become a source of frustration for fan bases. He is still an offensive threat, but the 14.8 PPG and $15.3 million price tag do not quite jive. His scoring is the lowest since his sophomore season and he’s never shot more poorly (45.2%), although Derrick Rose’s absence is a big factor. Thus, the amnesty provision still hovers over his head.

C.J. Miles, Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland’s situation is messy. Simply put, the Cavaliers are among the league’s biggest disappointments. Despite the issues, Miles has seen a decrease in playing time–his 19.7 MPG is the lowest in six seasons. There are minutes to be had, but for whatever reason, he is not claiming them. In typical C.J. fashion, he still has flashes of greatness, as seen in his recent 10-trey evening.

Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks

Injuries kept Harris out for two months, but now that he’s back, he’s proven to be a great bench addition for the Mavericks. He’s played just eight games, but with 9.5 PPG and 3.5 APG in just 18.4 MPG, he’s become a stabilizing force off the pine. Harris has reverted back to his driving game and is subsequently getting to the free throw line 6.6 times/36 minutes–an aspect of his game that was noticeably missing in Utah.

Randy Foye, Denver Nuggets

He’s not shooting the 3-pointer as well as he did with the Jazz, but Foye has increased his productivity. In slightly less playing time this season, he’s averaging more points (11.3), rebounds (2.6, up from a lowly 1.5 RPG mark) and assists (2.8). With Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson suffering injuries and Andre Miller on the outs, Foye is being relied upon more to help facilitate the offense.

Ronnie Brewer, Houston Rockets

Things have never been the same for Brewer since the Jazz traded him. He had some excellent years for Utah, including a career-best 13.7 PPG  in 2008-09. With a bevy of swingmen available, Ronnie B is at the end of the bench. He is averaging 0.3 PPG and shooting just 20% from the field. He still shows defensive prowess, but simply does not have a role with the Rockets. He too is only 28, but it is appearing more and more likely that he may not regain the production level he displayed in Utah.

Kosta Koufos, Memphis Grizzlies

This was one of my favorite off-season moves, mostly because it provided a capable starter to play behind a great center in Marc Gasol. With the latter’s injuries, Koufos was thrust into starting again and his advanced stats dropped a bit. Things have picked back up now that Gasol is back. Still, he’s shooting about 10% less from the field than last season. Koufos is still doing great things–7.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG (18.7 TRB%) and will help Memphis in their quest to earn one of the playoff spots.

Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Thunder

He will never stop playing. Yes, he’s announced that he’s bidding adieu after this season, but we’ll see. At 39 years old and in his 18th season, his contributions are marginal. He is averaging just 4.7 PPG and 1.3 APG, but still gets consistent burn. While his shots inside the arc are often errant, those from downtown are still going down at a 37.2% clip. Fisher still takes a lot of charges.

Ronnie Price, Orlando Magic

One of the genuine good guys in the NBA, Price’s main contribution to the rebuilding Magic is to be a veteran influence and consummate professional. His stats are scary: 1.9 PPG (32.6% FGs, 28.6% 3s, 60% FTs) and 1.3 APG. Given the way he is respected by all the teams he’s played for, it would not surprise to see Price continue to find work in similar roles for a few more seasons.

Wesley Matthews, Portland Trailblazers

This may be one of the guys that Jazz fans will never stop missing; this year has not changed that. Matthews is having the best season of his career and was a fringe All-Star candidate. His play has been integral to the Blazers’ surprising first half. He is averaging career-highs in points (16.7), rebounds (4.1), 3-pointers made (2.6) and 3P% (41.9%). His TS% has skyrocketed to .621 (up from .574) and his WS is 5.6 (4.7 OWS). His past two seasons were somewhat inconsistent, but his play this season has been a big catalyst for Portland’s success.

Earl Watson, Portland Trailblazers

Like Price, Watson is in Portland to serve as a veteran voice and locker room presence. He’s only appeared in 12 games, playing 4.6 MPG. The end of his career is probably nigh.

Mo Williams, Portland Trailblazers

Williams has embraced the sixth man role in Portland and is thriving. He is providing energy and strong play behind and occasionally alongside Damian Lillard.  He shooting is still shaky (39.5%), but he’s adding 9.1 PPG and 4.6 APG as a reserve. Given that the Trailblazers bench was awful the year before, his addition has been very welcomed. It’d be interesting to learn if Williams would have accepted such a role in Utah behind Trey Burke.

Eric Maynor, Washington Wizards

It has been a rough go for Maynor in the nation’s capital. He has scarcely played behind John Wall (who is averaging 37 MPG) and when he’s played, he’s struggled mightily. He’s shooting a horrendous 29.2% from the field and is chipping in just 2.3 PPG and 1.7 APG in 9.3 MPG. He showed promise early on in his career, but has plateaued–or perhaps even regressed.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Paul Millsap Jazz Media Interview http://saltcityhoops.com/paul-millsap-jazz-media-interview/ http://saltcityhoops.com/paul-millsap-jazz-media-interview/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 22:45:15 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9241 Author information
Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg is a writer for SLAM magazine, operating the “Basketballista” blog on slamonline.com, as well as working as an on-air reporter for SLAM TV. She also works for Turner Sports, working in production for various NBA television programs.
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As reporters congregated around Paul Millsap, the eighth-year forward’s tone had a bittersweet tinge when reminiscing about his time as a member of the Utah Jazz. Millsap, the 47th overall pick in 2006, grew into a household name during his seven seasons with the Jazz. This past summer, Millsap signed with Atlanta as an unrestricted agent after the Jazz decided on a drastic rebuild. This season, the versatile forward is averaging 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and a career-best 43.4 percent from three.

courtesy: Getty Images

courtesy: Getty Images

As he prepared to face his former team for the first time, Millsap spoke to the media about his past with the Jazz and current opportunity in Atlanta.

On how his career ended in Utah:

Paul Millsap: “For me, it was a little disappointing. Anywhere you go, you want to try to win big, and I wasn’t able to do that. I felt like I’d done all I could do, so had to move on.”

On whether he was surprised to not re-sign with Jazz: 

PM: “I don’t know. Things happen for a reason. I feel like that and [that I landed] where I’m at for a reason. I can’t really look back in the past and say ‘if this, if that.’ I’ve got to move forward.”

On whether he knew he could shoot threes at the career-high percentage he is averaging this season: 

PM: “Did I know? Yeah. Did I have the confidence to do it? No. Getting here, the coaching staff, giving me the confidence, the players, giving me the confidence to put me in the situations to shoot it and make it.”

On his expanded role on offense:

PM: “Here, they’re pushing me to shoot it more and it’s part of the offense. I feel like, they feel like, that we’re at our best if I space the floor and shoot the ball…It moves me out from under the basket a lot, getting banged on, so that helps a lot.”

On whether he sensed Jazz were on the verge of a drastic rebuild:

PM: “No, not at all. I don’t think anybody had seen it coming. It was one of those things that happened. You can’t help but respect the decision from the front office, they have control over that.”

On his rise from late second-round pick to top option:

PM: “It feels great to know that your hard work pays off. Over the years, I busted my butt to get where I’m at, so I’m very grateful. I feel like I’m getting another opportunity to come out here and showcase my talents.”

On Gordon Hayward’s leadership:

PM: “He’s more of a floor leader than a vocal leader. I think everybody knows G’s a pretty quiet guy. When he gets on the court, the ball’s in his hands, he makes decisions. He’s a good decision maker. As far as leading, he’s pretty much a good leader on the court.”

On his time in Utah, whether one memory stands out: 

PM “All of it’s together, it just brings up one incredible career in Utah. Not just one memory sticks out. Over the course of the years, met great people, befriended a lot of people. It was great times.”

On whether he has incentive to play his best game against former team:

PM: “A win would be good enough for me.”

Author information

Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg is a writer for SLAM magazine, operating the “Basketballista” blog on slamonline.com, as well as working as an on-air reporter for SLAM TV. She also works for Turner Sports, working in production for various NBA television programs.
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Paul Millsap, Plus/Minus All-Star http://saltcityhoops.com/paul-millsap-plusminus-all-star/ http://saltcityhoops.com/paul-millsap-plusminus-all-star/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:55:13 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9221 Author information
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett is a life-long Jazz fan and general sports fanatic based in Salt Lake City. He also writes for Nylon Calculus (Hardwood Paroxysm/Fansided Network), and can be heard on the airwaves for the SCH podcast and appearances with ESPN AM 700. With a strong background in both statistics and on-court fundemantals, he writes primarily as an in-depth strategic analyst. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.
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Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Editor’s note: This is a guest piece done by Salt City Hoops writer Ben Dowsett, written on GotBuckets.com, a statistically oriented NBA-wide blog. They’re doing a series on “Plus/Minus All Stars”, and asked SCH to contribute a piece on a former Jazz favorite. We excerpt from the article here, then invite you to check out the whole piece, including video highlights on Got Buckets.

And as his game began maturing in his first few seasons, Millsap found himself in a situation not uncommon for guys like him in a small market like Utah – Jazz supporters, fans and analysts alike, seemed to think he didn’t get enough attention around the league.  When Portland signed him to an offer sheet in restricted free agency during the summer of 2009, many considered the number far too high; the Jazz matched quickly.  But as he played out this contract with still very little league-wide attention, the verdict on Millsap in Salt Lake was clear: we may not exactly know how, but this guy is way better than people think.

But for all he adds on the offensive end, there’s basically no doubt that Millsap is far more undervalued as a defender.  And on the surface, it’s easy to see why: he’s undersized, doesn’t inspire awe with his rim-protecting ability, and has never “anchored” a top-five defensive unit or anywhere close to it.  But just like his offense, Millsap brings loads of savvy and a high basketball IQ on every possession, and it’s reflected in his remarkably high defensive APM numbers (21st for the most recent regressions, 10th for the second-most recent), which place him in the company of names like Tyson Chandler, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

Millsap has excellent hands for his size, something that’s reflected in raw box score numbers – since 2010, he’s finished no worse than ninth of all qualified forwards in steals per game, sitting second for the current season behind only Trevor Ariza.  He’s especially quick-handed when guarding in the post, a must when you consider the size disadvantage he’s typically giving up.

For the rest of the article, click through here: http://www.gotbuckets.com/2013/12/20/paul-millsap-apm-all-star/

Author information

Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett is a life-long Jazz fan and general sports fanatic based in Salt Lake City. He also writes for Nylon Calculus (Hardwood Paroxysm/Fansided Network), and can be heard on the airwaves for the SCH podcast and appearances with ESPN AM 700. With a strong background in both statistics and on-court fundemantals, he writes primarily as an in-depth strategic analyst. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.
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NBA Free Agency Rundown: Eastern Conference http://saltcityhoops.com/nba-free-agency-rundown-eastern-conference/ http://saltcityhoops.com/nba-free-agency-rundown-eastern-conference/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 19:33:06 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6992 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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The free agency moratorium lifted Tuesday evening at 10:01 p.m. MST and now everything that has been bandied about in various news reports will become official. How are each of the teams faring so far? Here’s a team-by-team look at the early signings, starting with the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks were the one team that had more cap room than the Utah Jazz, and Atlanta decided to use their money in a very different way. A team that seems to perpetually reside in the middle tier of the NBA decided to restock with veterans. They signed Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (two-years, $19 million) and DeMarre Carroll (two-years, $5 million). Those are both solid moves. The Hawks are essentially substituting the always-in-trade-rumors-guy Josh Smith with Millsap, a good replacement. The two years was surprising to me, while the $9.5m/year seems about right. Carroll is a nice pick-up as an energy guy off the bench. The Hawks also re-upped former Jazzman Kyle Korver to a four-year, $24 million pact. That seems like a lot of years and a lot of scratch, although shooters like Korver tend to age well. Also, he is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. They lost Smith, Zaza Pachulia, and yet another ex-Utah player in Devin Harris.

Boston Celtics: No free agency news, but they traded their whole roster for Brooklyn’s bench. And added a coach younger than most of last season’s Celtics roster.

Brooklyn Nets: After making the trade of the off-season (all due respect to the Jazz and Warriors) in acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, the Nets looked poised to make a run at the Miami Heat in the East. As a result, and because they are severely seeped in luxury tax ($72-$74 million by many reports for 2013-2014), they are being selective in their free agency. They re-signed last year’s surprise in Andray Blatche and tall point guard Shaun Livingston to league minimums. Blatche is still being paid via his amnesty agreement with the Washington Wizards; he bolsters the bench. Livingston will play behind Deron Williams and despite the horrific injury early in his career, he has settled in to a nice back-up point guard role. C.J. Watson left.

Charlotte Bobcats: Naturally I was hoping that each of last year’s Jazz free agents would land in good situations. Truth be told, I have mixed feelings about Al Jefferson inking a three-year, $41 million contract with the NBA’s lowliest franchise. I’m happy in that he will step right in and be the leader. But I was hoping he would have at least waited until the Dwight Howard drama was resolved. My guess is that teams that are itching for Andrew Bynum now would’ve been seriously interested in Jefferson. From the Bobcats’ vantage point, they need to do something to escape their losing ways. Al adds a low-post presence in a woeful front court, and will most likely put up 20+ ppg. That said, that seems to be a bit too much money (three years is fine). They also re-signed Josh McRoberts for two-years, $6 million. That’s a decent guy to have off the pine. They renounced (finally) DeSagana Diop and Byron Mullens, as well as Reggie Williams and Jannero Pargo. What will we ever do without Diop’s monstrosity of a contract?

Chicago Bulls: Mike Dunleavy signing a two-year, $6 million contract is the best signings of free agency. He brings perimeter shooting, heady passing, and some scoring off the bench to the Bulls. Great signing at a bargain price. Nazr Mohammed will come back an extra year. He still has something in the tank. Juwan Howard will one day (perhaps a dozen years from now) pass along the mantle of the NBA’s vet to Nazr. Marco Belinelli was an excellent find last summer, so his leaving for the Spurs is a blow. The Bulls also severed ties with Richard Hamilton. Not sure how much more Rip has to offer.

Cleveland Cavaliers: While the Anthony Bennett pick still has me scratching my head, it’s clear the Cavs are gunning for the playoffs. They added some nice players in Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark. Jack was a main catalyst to the Warriors’ success last year, and Cleveland hopes he can reprise a similar role behind Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. He signed a four-year, $25 million deal, which seems about right (even for a 29-year old third guard). Clark took advantage of the surreal Lakers’ situationlast season to finally emerge. He brings versatility and front court depth to the table. At two-years, $9 million, his contract might be a touch high, but if given the opportunity, he might prove to be a steal. Omri Casspi left for Houston, but he never played in Cleveland.

Detroit Pistons: Josh Smith is an intriguing signing. He has All-Star talent (and probably should have made at least one All-Star roster, if not two), is tremendous on help defense, and has AK47-like versatility. Added to the pair of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, Smith gives them one of the best (if not the best) young front courts. That said, he needs to operate inside, so spacing could get cramped. Combo guard Will Bynum re-upped, which was smart. He can score and lead the second unit well. On a side note, I always thought the bullish Bynum would’ve been a favorite for Jerry Sloan. Jose Calderon departed for Dallas, ending his brief sojourn in Detroit.

Indiana Pacers: After giving Miami all it could handle, the Pacers have gone out and had a tremendous off-season. By being a contender, they too could be very deliberate with their signings. C.J. Watson will be integral to their success. After a season of D.J. Augustine’s perplexing play, Watson will add a nice punch behind George Hill. Chris Copeland, who the Jazz clearly had interest in, also helps shore up a shallow bench. His versatility and outside shooting (42% 3s) will be very welcome. Most importantly, they re-signed power forward David West. His quiet leadership was as much a driver for their playoff run as anything. His three-year, $36 million deal seems like a bit much, but he too has a game that will age well. Add in a healthy Danny Granger and they could again be the Heat’s main challenger. They lost Jeff Pendergraph to the Spurs, which has to make one worry a bit. After all, it’s the Spurs…

Miami Heat: Re-signing vital reserve Chris Andersen to a one-year pact was essential. His play was instrumental, especially because it keeps Joel Anthony on the bench.

Milwaukee Bucks: It is hard to decipher what the Milwaukee Bucks are doing. They have been the epitome of mediocrity for decades. They’ve had a few nice squads, but seem to be eternally locked into a low postseason seed. They handed O.J. Mayo (who some said was a Jazz target) for three-years, $24 million. That is a lot of money to pay for a guy who may score for you, but may not do so efficiently. He doesn’t strike me as one who will help lead the Bucks to anything but middling success. They also brought back to former Bucks in Pachulia and Carlos Delfino. I can understand each of these signings individually, but when viewed big-picture, it’s all confusing. If anything, they should’ve brought back Dunleavy.

New York Knicks: Losing Copeland to a rival is tough, but they couldn’t afford to have him back. They re-signed Pablo Prigioni to a three-year deal, a bit surprising for a 36-year old. He is a steady back-up. J.R. Smith and the Knicks belong together, for better or for worse. They got him for four-years, $26 million, which really is a nice deal for what he brings to New York.

Orlando Magic: Nothing happening here.

Philadelphia Sixers: Ditto. They did lose Dorrell Wright to Portland, but the chances of him returning to Philly were slim.

Toronto Raptors: With Orlando and Philadelphia, Toronto will naturally be mentioned as a team on the tank. Their only splash has been adding little-used Julyan Stone from Denver.

Washington Wizards: This is a team on the rise and one that will most likely make the Playoffs this season. Besides adding Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. to the mix via the Draft, they got former Jazz point guard Eric Maynor for a song to back-up John Wall. Maynor, when healthy, can provide nice play off the bench. They re-signed Garrett Temple and Martell Webster. as well. Webster was a big help last season with his shooting. They paid the mid-level exception, which was a lot more money than I was predicting. Whatever the case may be, they are going into “postseason or bust” mode in DC.

Stay tuned for a recap of the Western Conference.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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The Backup: The Most Popular Player on the Team http://saltcityhoops.com/the-backup-the-most-popular-player-on-the-team/ http://saltcityhoops.com/the-backup-the-most-popular-player-on-the-team/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 19:50:46 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6655 Author information
Scott Stevens
A voice of the everyday Jazz fan. Scott works as a creative writer at an advertising agency in Los Angeles. Sticking it to Laker fans every chance he gets. A former "Jazz Rowdy" and avid interneter with production and writing experience on global sports brands. He has lived everywhere from Texas to DC, and all the way to Thailand. He now happens to live on a boat.
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There’s a phenomenon that occurs with almost every fan base, especially the ones that aren’t winning all the time. As fans, we want results, and we want them now. We lack patience. So when losses start stacking up quicker than wins, we clamor for change.

But that can be expected: after all, we’re the ones paying for seats. We’re the ones ultimately paying for these lofty athlete contracts. So we should have some say in what’s happening with the team. Sometimes, though, fans don’t see things correctly. We start to skew reality in our minds. And typically, this starts to skew towards one player—the backup.

To illustrate my point, I’m actually going to switch sports for moment to football, where the backup QB is the most beloved player on the team. If the offense isn’t executing, the blame falls on QB1. Once it gets bad enough, the fan base becomes certain that the other kid on the bench must be able to deliver better. Even if he can’t, in their minds, anything is better than the current situation. And so it goes. This notion festers in your mind: the more you hate the starter, the more you love the backup.

Back to basketball.  I think you could make an argument for many of the bench players as the “favorite.” Derrick Favors comes to mind. Demarre Carroll. #freeAlecBurks. I could go on and on.

Play-Favors-Jody-Genessy1

There were times this year and last year when people were even ecstatic about Jamaal Tinsley. He showed flashes of brilliance at times, coming off the bench to spark the offense, and even dribbling through the legs of opponents. He was exciting, but more than anything, fans were frustrated with Mo Williams, or Devin Harris the previous year. There comes a point when anything else starts to seem like a better option.

Another great example of this phenomenon is Paul Millsap. Think back to the heart of the Boozer years: our old buddy Carlos was in and out of injuries, showing up some nights, but disappearing on most. Completely vacant on the defensive end. When out of a familiar, smaller Louisiana school comes little ‘ol Paul. A double-double machine. He was the anti-Boozer, and fans couldn’t get enough of him. Fast forward to now. While still beloved by most of Utah, becoming a starter hasn’t exactly helped his street cred. If anything, in the eyes of the fans, he’s become the largest deterrent in the development of Mr. Favors. Maybe he should have stayed a backup.

There is only truth to this principle, however, with a losing team. No one was ever calling for John Stockton to be replaced. No one ever asks about the guy backing up someone like Tom Brady. Winning takes care of everything.

Win, and your starting role is secure. Lose, and the fans may (and probably will) turn on you.

Until the franchise gets back to that stage, at least the new jumbotron looks nice. Right? And jumbotrons don’t have backups.

Author information

Scott Stevens
A voice of the everyday Jazz fan. Scott works as a creative writer at an advertising agency in Los Angeles. Sticking it to Laker fans every chance he gets. A former "Jazz Rowdy" and avid interneter with production and writing experience on global sports brands. He has lived everywhere from Texas to DC, and all the way to Thailand. He now happens to live on a boat.
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What’s Next for Paul Millsap? http://saltcityhoops.com/whats-next-for-paul-millsap/ http://saltcityhoops.com/whats-next-for-paul-millsap/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2011 15:40:51 +0000 http://www.saltcityhoops.com/?p=3885 Author information
Jeff Lind
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Michael Brandy, Deseret News

[Editor's note: With the recent acquisition of D. Favors, the Jazz are suddenly flush with big men. Guest writer Nick Smith asks where Paul Millsap fits into the rebuilding Utah Jazz... or if he fits in at all.]

In 2006, the Jazz took a second round gamble with their 47th pick and selected an undersized PF in Paul Millsap.  Millsap had been, for the third consecutive year, the nation’s leading rebounder, but outside of his rebounding skills and high motor, Millsap came into the league with much to work on.  However, in his 5 years with the Jazz, Millsap has done everything the organization has asked him to do and has been a complete pro.  Paul made strides in his game every single year and has become one of the more offensively skilled bigs in the NBA.  He possesses great guard skills, a nose for the ball, and has a Kevin-Garnett-smooth jumper that he can hit from virtually anywhere on the floor.  But there is one thing Paul Millsap does not have and that’s size.  You can’t stop the heart of a lion, but you can stop a power forward who stands only 6 feet 7 inches tall.

Millsap waited patiently for Carlos Boozer’s departure for his chance to be a starter, and this year he got that chance.  Paul has missed only 6 games all year, and has played extremely hard. Still, evaluating the quality of this season for Paul is very difficult.  Was this actually a good year for Millsap? Looking at the stats, this season looks like a staggering success. By most measures he had the type of production that nearly all teams hope for from their starting power forward.  In 72 games, Paul averaged 34.3 MPG, 17.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2.4 APG while shooting a very effective 53.1% from the field 33.3% from three.  Still, Millsap’s lack of size was exposed on a nightly basis (see Demarcus Cousins’ performance from Sunday), and despite his significant increase in minutes, Paul still needs 5 additional offensive rebounds in Utah’s last three games to avoid his all-time career season low for that statistic. That’s a stunning fact for a man who’s mantra has always been to out-work anyone who stepped inside the paint.

Considering that Paul has been playing against the biggest and the best big men in the NBA, he has done a nice job (especially when you remember the lack of help from forever-ailing Mehmet Okur), but on February 23rd everything changed for the Jazz. Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor shocked the NBA by silently pulling the trigger and dealing one of the league’s premier point guards from the Jazz and changing the entire face of the roster.  O’Connor and the rest of the Jazz brass decided that they would not let their best player walk for no return. The Jazz had a generalist “big man” in Paul Millsap but with Williams departure, they suddenly had a specialist power forward in Derrick Favors. Standing at a legit 6’10 with a wingspan and vertical leap that puts even Bill Walton at a loss for words, Derrick Favors became the future of this organization.  Just a few nights ago he stood toe to toe with the length of the Lakers, and for the first time in years, the Jazz could challenge LA in the paint.  So, if Derrick is the future for this team, what do the Jazz do with Paul Millsap? That’s the (multi)million dollar question.

It’s no secret that the Jazz have already realized they have a logjam.  The team has started talking about and playing Millsap at the small forward position.  This seems to be a perfect scenario to make room for Derrick Favors while keeping Millsap’s production on the floor, but sorry Jazz fans, I just don’t see it happening.  When I think of a small forward, I think of a shooter with range, a quick release on his shot, and an ability to beat other guards off the dribble.  When I think of Paul Millsap’s game, I don’t think of any of these things.  Why spend time trying to fit a round peg into a square hole if there are other options for Paul? Here are the options that face the Jazz:

Option 1: Express to Millsap that he is a leader of the team and the intangibles he brings are greatly needed, but he needs to go back to coming off of the bench.  The Jazz need Millsap to be the third big, the Lamar Odom, the guy who comes in and dominates against other teams’ bench players inside the paint lines like he used to.  Paul Millsap is an average starting power forward in this league, but he is one of the best, if not the best third big man in the NBA.

Option 2: If Millsap is not pleased with option one, the Jazz owe it to him to move him to a place where he will get what he wants.  His trade value has never been higher and the Jazz could use this value to address other issues on their roster by building a deal centered on Millsap.  Millsap, coupled with one or two of the many draft picks and young players the Jazz have, would likely be enough to reel in a dynamic wing player that the Jazz desperately need.  Imagine a frontline of Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors that is complemented with a tantalizing wing player like Danny Granger, Andre Igoudala, or  Jamal Crawford.  Utah could then use one of their remaining future picks for a guy like Kenneth Faried or Tristan Thompson to replace (I hate that word) Millsap’s rebounding and energy in the paint to become the new third big.  And for the really optimistic Jazz fan, one could even make an argument that between Memo’s return and the Jazz’s rights to the 7’2 Croatian Ante Tomic, the Jazz could have a high supply of serviceable bigs, even without Paul.

Paul Millsap embodies everything that’s good about the NBA. Off the court he’s a class act, and on the court he’s very tough, plays through injuries, and leaves it all on the table every night. Even though Coach Sloan isn’t with the team anymore, I still love to use the following term when describing players like Millsap; he’s a Jerry Sloan type guy.  It’s no secret why the fans love him, why the organization loves him, and why the only Jazz jersey I own is #24.  Hopefully the Jazz can manage this issue with a simple rotation change, but depending on how well that goes over with Paul, I’m here to warn you Jazz fans: Millsap’s days here in Utah may be numbered.

Let us know what you think in the comments, and follow Nick on Twitter!

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Jeff Lind
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Case of the Mondays: Black Friday Edition http://saltcityhoops.com/case-of-the-mondays-black-friday-edition/ http://saltcityhoops.com/case-of-the-mondays-black-friday-edition/#comments Mon, 29 Nov 2010 20:01:50 +0000 http://www.saltcityhoops.com/?p=3240 Author information
Mychal
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Apology

So I would like to apologize to all my Case of the Mondays fans (all three of you. Especially you mom). I work retail and I got thrown into preparations for Black Friday so there was no Case of the Mondays last week. If there is any woman out there that is vehemently opposed to MMA I’m going to show her a video of Black Friday shopping and scream hypocrite.

Black Mamba Friday

Kobe was in top form in the 4th quarter.

What a Friday for Jazz fans. D-Will’s plea for his team not to eat turkey evidently was heeded. The Jazz came out and beat the Lakers. Here are some of the things I noticed during the game:

  • Kobe’s Still Kobe – Despite putting up pedestrian numbers in the first 3 quarters, the Black Mamba came alive in the 4th. He had 14 straight points in the 4th quarter until …
  • Sloan’s Adjustments – Sloan’s coaching is like a fine wine. It just gets better with age. His 4th quarter adjustments to ge the ball out of Kobe’s hands helped the Jazz disrupt his flow and caused a turnover which resulted in an easy layup for Raja. Instead of the normal ending of Kobe finishing off the Jazz, the Jazz were resilient and fought back and got the win. Just another reason why Sloan is one of the best coaches in the game.
  • Rebounding – The Jazz out-rebounded the Lakers, 42-38. No, that’s not a typo. The Jeffer-Sap Monster was out in full force hitting the boards.
  • Big Al – Remember all the attention Big Al’s increased weight got at the beginning of the season? Pau Gasol had to deal with it all Friday night. I’m sure the only one who thinks he should lose that weight now is Pau Gasol. Jefferson’s size really disrupted Gasol’s flow and allowed the Jazz to focus on Kobe and not have to double team Gasol in the post.

L.A. Griffins

How many Clippers does it take to take a ball from a Millsap? (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Blake Griffin is so much fun to watch. In fact while I am typing this I am actually re-watching a Clipper game. Do you realize that re-watching a Clipper game used to be a punishment worse than waterboarding? Now it is actually enjoyable. I’m just scared that one of these days Blake Griffin might actually realize that the name on his jersey reads “Clippers” and stop trying. Here are some things I noticed during the Clipper game:

  • Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin – Get your wins now agains this guy. Honestly, it’s like the Clippers went “weird science” on us and instead of making their dream woman they simply imported Blake Griffin’s persona from NBA JAM and put him in a living body. Amazing.
  • Twitter Prediction Came True – I said it on twitter earlier today, “J.A. Adande + Attending Jazz Game + Jazz 5 game win streak + Sweep of L.A. teams = A Story on ESPN about the Jazz tomorrow.” And he did. In other news, I’m starting an online palm reading service.
  • Team Effort – The Jazz had 6 players with 10 points or more. Solid.
  • AK-47 – We witnessed some vintage Andrei last night. His line: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 1 steal.

Fesenko, Friend Me

So I must gloat right now. I took a shot in the dark and added Fesenko as a friend on Facebook. It looks I was worthy of friendship. I was accepted as one of his facebook friends. In case you were wondering what his most recent facebook status was it was this:

Yes this is not fake.

By the way, for all those out there, slcdunk.com does this thing called Fesenko Friday, in which they find a random picture of Fesenko and you get to make the caption of it. I totally recommend it. Great way to start your weekend. Kudos to slcdunk.com for such a great weekly holiday.

No Rest For The Weary

The Jazz have to face 3 tough basketball teams this week. They play against the Bucks tonight, the Pacers on Wednesday, and the Mavericks on Friday. The Bucks are coming off a win against Charlotte, the Pacers just beat the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday, and the Mavericks have won 5 straight. In case you’re wondering how the Jazz matchup, here are the team previews we did for each of these teams and how Utah matches up against them:

Milwaukee Bucks

Indiana Pacers

Dallas Mavericks

Follow Mychal on Twitter!

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Mychal
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Take it to the Court: Thanksgiving Edition http://saltcityhoops.com/take-it-to-the-court-3/ http://saltcityhoops.com/take-it-to-the-court-3/#comments Wed, 24 Nov 2010 16:34:51 +0000 http://www.saltcityhoops.com/?p=3181 Author information
Jefferson
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Take it the Court is a new weekly column on SCH featuring the arguments, opinions, and random musing of a Utah Jazz fanatic.

Over the past several years, the Utah Jazz have teamed up with the Salt Lake Mission to provide Thanksgiving to thousands of underprivileged Utahns.  Thus, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a sampling of the Utah Jazz as your traditional holiday meal:

  • Turkey: I know you’re thinking Deron Williams as the main course, right?  Guess again…how about Jerry Sloan?  Don’t sleep on Sloan for Coach of the Year, tryptophan notwithstanding.  Surrounded by change (during his tenure, he’s seen different players, management, different uniforms, even a different arena, and later a new arena name), Sloan is as constant as the Thanksgiving turkey tradition.  This Coach won’t let his players nap on defense (or they’ll find themselves camping on the bench).  Turkey is Thanksgiving and Jerry Sloan is the Utah Jazz.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Half Millsap + half Jefferson = one tasty serving of “Jeffersap.”  Night in and night out, these two take turns filling the plates of opposing teams with tasty points and rebounds.  Together, they are the glue that holds the meal together – It would nice to see them both on the table at the same time, but at least we can always count on one or the other. Thru 15 games, the duo is averaging a combined 36 points and nearly 18 rebounds per outing.
  • Gravy train? Here’s where D-Will comes in.  You know that the key to turkey and mashed potatoes is a sweet tasting gravy to tie it all together.  Likewise, Deron is the link between Sloan and his two-headed Jeffersap.  When Williams is hot, he makes Sloan, Millsap, and Jefferson ALL look better.  You can bet that opposing teams wish they could go easy on Williams – just like passing by the gravy at your family feast, overlooking D-Will is a recipe for destruction.
  • Sweet potatoes: How come we only eat sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving?  It must be some holdover from a long forgotten era – but it still makes the menu every November.  Raja Bell is the sweet potato in our analogy – a little old school, but the meal just isn’t complete without him.  With Raja on the bench, the defensive difference in Utah’s home loss to OKC was palatable.  Raja hasn’t had a defining game yet, but he makes his teammates better defenders.
  • Homemade rolls: Unless your willpower is stronger than mine (sweet, sweet carbs), you really can’t stop after one serving…just like Andrei Kirilenko.  When AK is playing well, the team wins – plain and simple.  Recall that is was AK’s inspired play that initiated the streak of comebacks.  Pair him up with some Gravy or Mashed Potatoes, even cranberry sauce – and you’ve got a winning combination.
  • Green Beans: Not everyone likes CJ Miles.  I have several FB friends who insist that he is the problem with the Jazz and needs to be shipped away as soon as possible.  And then he knocks down HUGE buckets to keep the Jazz from dropping a close one to division rival Portland, followed by a great showing against the Kings.  I, for one, am a fan of green beans AND CJ Miles.  My only qualm? I don’t want my green beans thinking that it is my gravy.  CJ, I love ya, but this is Deron’s team – you don’t have to be the hero every time you get the ball.  Be content to be a green bean, for crying out loud!
  • Cranberry Sauce: Like it or not, a little bit goes a long way; enter the Utah bench – Fes, Elson, Price, Hayward, Watson [reserve "white meat" jokes about Fes and Hayward for another time].  The Jazz don’t need huge minutes OR huge numbers from their bench players.  Instead, they need small doses of energy to keep things together.
  • Pumpkin Pie: If you don’t finish your meal with a slice of pie with some fresh whipped cream, you’re missing out.  There’s just something about Mehmet Okur [shouldn't HE be the Turkey?] that can put the finishing touches on the Utah season.  Sure, you may think there is no room for pie, but come on, you can always make room for a nice slice of pie – and a silky smooth jumpshot.  Word is, Memo is getting close.

My wish is that each and every reader out there has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving with more food than you can eat and plenty of friends and family to share it with.  From the staff writers of SCH, we’re grateful for you stopping by for the finest news and opinions on the Utah Jazz.

–  –

Contact Jefferson W. Boswell at jeffersonboz [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

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Jefferson
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Case of the Mondays: And Totally Redeem Yourself! http://saltcityhoops.com/case-of-the-mondays-and-totally-redeem-yourself/ http://saltcityhoops.com/case-of-the-mondays-and-totally-redeem-yourself/#comments Mon, 15 Nov 2010 15:46:27 +0000 http://www.saltcityhoops.com/?p=3060 Author information
Mychal
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Case of the Mondays is a weekly column on SCH that recaps the previous weekend and gives you your Jazz fix when you’ve been diagnosed with a case of the Mondays.

About Last Week

After the Jazz began the season 0-2 it seemed all was wrong in Jazz land. D-Will wasn’t happy, the Jazz’s offense was terrible, Al Jefferson was overrated, Bell was on his last legs, the bench looked awful, Hayward was catching passes from D-Will that had an extra zip to them, and the Bear almost fell from a ladder in the home opener (yes, this did in fact happen.)

Then something crazy happened. In case you weren’t able to see last week I condensed all of last week’s games into one clip. Watch that and then come back. To paraphrase, the Jazz bandwagon has room for one more if you still haven’t caught Jazz fever.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t all what happened last week in one clip, but that’s about the gist of it. What the Jazz did last week was miraculous. Or at least highly improbable. If there is one person out there who predicted the Jazz were going to go 4-0 on their road trip and every win was going to be a comeback win, then I strongly encourage him or her to step forward and be my wingman on my next trip to Vegas. Really. Be my wingman. We could make bank.

More amazing: The Jazz have played a league-most 7 road games. They have won a league-most 5 road games. All of their road wins have come against 2009-2010 playoff teams: OKC, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

The teams they played had an average .550 win percentage (take away Charlotte and it’s.634).  They played 4 games in 5 days. The Jazz have historically been bad on the road. They overcame halftime deficits of 19, 10, 3, and 16. Throw in the Clippers game at home and the ridiculous comeback streak is 5 games long.

You got to give it to Sloan. He wants to make it a fair fight so he allows teams to get a 20 point head start. That’s classy. All joking aside, theses second half comebacks have been nothing short of Sloan COY evangelism. The team makes some adjustments and simply executes, all the way to the victory.

Williams to Millsap

Get used to these two being good for a long time.

Right now the Jazz are one of only two teams (the other being Atlanta) to have at least two players in the top 15 in efficiency. Those two players? Williams and Millsap. In fact, Millsap is 3rd in the league in efficiency and Williams is 14th. Just imagine how crazy their efficiency would be if Sloan allowed them to play in the 1st half of games (that’s a joke).

D-Will … Unhappy?

In a recent ESPN.com chat with Ric Bucher, he had some interesting insights about the Jazz point guard. When asked why D-Will’s name doesn’t come up in trade rumors he said this:

Deron has been smarter and more responsible about it. There are no rumors leaking out because he’s not telling friends he’s frustrated. Though he is. He’ll give Utah everything he has and make a decision when his option to leave is available. I respect that to the Nth degree.

This was said after the Jazz’s wins against Miami and Orlando. They had not yet beat Atlanta and Charlotte. But Deron Williams is frustrated? I have never liked the Miss Cleo method of reading a player’s mind. I can see why someone could think he was frustrated. He lost his friend Brewer, lost his low post presence Boozer, lost Wesley Matthews, lost Korver, lost Eric Maynor, threw a ball at a rookie, and is not living in Utah anymore. Here’s my problem: unless Deron Williams has told someone he’s frustrated, how would Ric Bucher, employee of ESPN and not in D-Will’s circle of friends, know he is? Would Deron Williams tell something like that to the media before his friends or family? I don’t think so.

Not to get all sensitive, but the subtext to Bucher’s comment seems to be “He isn’t outwardly demanding a trade, but you know he’s just DYING to get out of Utah. Who could stand it there?”

Deron’s team is 1st in the Northwest division, beat 4 out of the 5 teams in the Southeast Division, and they are still learning the offense. If this is what the Jazz are capable of when they only play a couple of good quarters a night imagine what happens when they play four good quarters of basketball. Who would want anything to do with a mess like that, right?.

Ariza/West/Okafor >? Kirilenko/Millsap/Jefferson

Is D-Will's supporting cast really worse than Chris Paul's?

As long as we’re here, let’s keep piling on our man Ric Bucher. In the same chat, he also said that New Orleans’ frontline was better than Utah’s. When someone asked Ric Bucher if he really believed that Bucher responded:

I don’t think it’s even close, especially when you factor in the psychological part: NO reloaded as best they could at CP3’s behest. Utah let a bunch of pieces walk for nothing. CP also is coming back to a front-line he’s played with before. Deron isn’t dialed into Al at all yet.

He also had this to say when someone pointed out that the Jazz didn’t let people walk away for nothing:

Al has been a big disappointment, Hayward isn’t close to the shooter Korver is, Bell’s best days are firmly behind him (Brewer is a better defender at this stage) and Elson is a journeyman.

I know the Hornets are 8-0 but I attributed that more to Chris Paul than his supporting cast. While I believe Ariza, Okafor, and West are playing solid I’m not sure they are at the level of Kirilenko, Millsap, and Jefferson. Here are their combined stats head to head:

[table id=2 /]

Bucher may be right on paper, but as Jerry Sloan is quick to remind everyone, that’s why we play the games. Looking at New Orleans’ front-line, they average 11.6 less points, 3.5 less rebounds, 2.6 less assists, .25 more steals, and .7 more blocks. While New Orleans’ front-line may create an extra turnover a game (if you combine the disparity of steals and blocks) it’s a wash when you look at the rebounding disparity.

Also, if you believe in the +/- rating, the Jazz have the 5th best five-person lineup in the league. The lineup of D-Will, Miles, Kirilenko, Millsap, and Jefferson has posted a +/- rating of +47 when they are on the court. The lineup of Paul, Belinelli, Ariza, West, Okafor is 7th in the league with a +/- rating of +41. Most importantly, the advanced stat community doesn’t yet have any measurement for the “psychological part.”

Paging Miss Cleo …

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