Individual matchups can make a huge difference in the NBA, and coach Tyrone Corbin hinted he will be more inclined to create them after Paul Millsap destroyed Portland.
Taking advantage of his size advantage against the Trail Blazersí Wesley Matthews and Nicholas Batum, Millsap scored 19 of his 31 points in the second half Monday night and led the Jazz to a 102-97 victory at the Rose Garden.
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The Jazz returned to practice Tuesday morning, and Millsap smiled when asked about Corbinís decision to give him extended minutes at small forward.
"Thatís who I am, thatís who my family is, thatís where I come from," Millsap said. "I do whatever it takes."
Millsap stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 245 pounds. He is three inches taller and 25 pounds heavier than Matthews, a former teammate. He is the same height as Batum, but weighs 45 pounds more.
The mismatch "Ö makes my job a little easier on offense," Millsap said. "But I also have to guard them on the other end. And I felt like I did a pretty good job."
Corbin played center Al Jefferson 39 minutes. Millsap played 34 minutes. Second-year man Derrick Favors played 35 minutes.
"We were struggling a little bit to score points and they were big inside," Corbin said. "We needed to get some shots in there.
"Paul has played some Ďthreeí before and it was just an opportunity to keep some size and offensive punch on the floor. Ö It worked out well."
Corbin says Millsap could play more small forward in the Jazzís final 12 games: "Paul did a great job of going inside and scoring and the guys did a great job of getting the ball to him. Itís something weíll look at more going forward."
Long overdue! Gives them a lot more flexibility. Put the best players on the court.
Paul Millsap has spent his entire six-year career with the Jazz.
If everything between Millsap and Utah continues to work out, the steadily improving power forward wants to extend his stay in Salt Lake City.
Millsap said Saturday he’s open to signing a long-term extension with the Jazz this summer.
His contract with Utah expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.
"It’s [the] team that drafted me. I’d love to finish my career here. But if it don’t work out, so be it," said Millsap, prior to the Jazz’s 103-98 loss to the Grizzlies.
The No. 47 overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft entered Saturday ranked second on the Jazz in average points (16.6), rebounds (8.7) and minutes (32.2). Millsap, 27, has missed only one game this season and has started the other 60. He ranks fourth in the NBA in average steals (1.78), has improved everything from his ballhandling to his defense, and rivals Al Jefferson as Utah’s MVP in a lockout-shortened campaign.
Despite being willing to slide down from power forward to small forward and continuing to improve his overall attack, Millsap is aware he faces an uncertain future with the Jazz. Backup power forward Derrick Favors, 20, entered Saturday averaging 8.6 points and 6.4 rebounds, and he’s recorded a double-double in four of five games.
Utah will have to make a decision about Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Al Jefferson and Millsap — four regular starters who hold expiring contracts next season.
Millsap understands his situation and said he’ll continue to do what he’s always done: control what he can control, while letting the business side of the game take care of itself.
"Certain stuff’s out of your hands," Millsap said. "Get out there and play basketball. You’re paid to play basketball; get out there and do my job."
Should be at the top of the agenda this off-season along with improving the pg position and outside shooting. It will save them money. If they let him become a free agent he could get overpaid. They might be able to front load it again so they can pay the kids in the next few years too.
Last edited by Xiao Yao You : 04-15-2012 at 01:56 AM.