Essentially, what the Jazz brass end up doing with Boozer the next summer will -- on some level -- be dependent upon what Paul Millsap does this season. Either he's a potential starter at power forward who can be counted on to get a double double, or he's a glorified energy player who cannot sustain his level of play for 30+ mpg. I think that what we know of him suggests that he is either one of those people, and not a combination of the two.
Here is what he gets done when he plays 27+ mpg (according to 2007-2008 seasons stats including playoffs):
So, in 12 games where Paul has played more than 27 mpg he averages: 16.2 ppg (62.8 fg%, over 6 fta/game @ 68.9 ft%); 7.8 rpg (3.3 off); 2.4 apg, 2.2 spg, 1.9 bpg. That really is not too shabby for under 30 mpg of work. Especially not for a 2nd year NBA player who still doesn't get the respect from the refs on defense. In his rookie season he played 18 mpg and had 6.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg and just around 1 apg, 1 spg and 1 bpg. In his soph season he upped his mpg to 20, and boosted his stats to 8.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and similarly around 1 apg, 1 spg and 1 bpg. He is not going to be a great contributor, or even want to stay in Utah, if he continues to play less than half the game. And clearly, it's not like he is an inefficient player by any means, as he has a career fg% that's easily above 50% and when he plays heavy minutes his FG% averages out to be an insane 62.8 fg% (see above). Dude needs the minutes, especially in this pivotal year where the Jazz may have to make a decision about Millsap or overpaying Carlos Boozer. That said, what are the three key things that we have to look out for this season from Paul Millsap?
- Season averages of 25-28 mpg: Really, this should be a given, and don't tell me that there isn't enough time to go around, I've been playing with time and rotations for part of the summer, and I know there is. (Even if that means that Carlos Boozer gets some playing time as the back-up center) 12 games is only 15% of the entire season, but I think that the foul situation provided, he can be a key performer when playing more than half the game.
- Meeting Statistical Benchmarks: This part is easy to understand . . . there will be more confidence in his game over the season by the coaching staff and brass if he can meet certain statistical benchmarks. I know that they must have some for him, and I do not know what they are, so here are mine:
- 5 different games of at least 20 points;
- 3 different games of 10 FTA;
- 45 games total of at least a combined 1 block and 2 steals, or 2 blocks and 1 steal;
- 3 3PTM
- At least 240 minutes of 4th quarter action
- Use quickness on offense more: He's a beast of an offensive rebounder due to his quickness, and he makes good cuts and gets open for dunks because of it . . . however, he needs to be able to use his relative quickness (compared to other PFs out there) when he gets the ball on one-on-one moves. He has solid ball handling for a big guy (he's no Odom or Kirilenko, but he's no Larry Nance either), and he has a rudimentary cross over and can do significant damage when he faces up his opponent. I'd like to see him get the ball at the high post, face up his man, and drive on him -- ultimately resulting in him getting to the FT line a bit more.