The Downbeat #1265: The "He's our Paul Millsap" Edition

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at Paul Millsap's numbers, Trey Burke's problem last night, Jerry Sloan Day and more . . . .

What a crazy last 24 hours in Utah Jazz land, huh? The highs of seeing so many of our favorite faces, the lows of reliving Sloan's departure, and the bitterness of losing once again on a celebratory night. (For more on that check out this post by my cousin David J. Smith at Andy Larsen's Salt City Hoops.) For me I have to admit that I did not get "into" it. I wasn't there, I didn't go to the game, ESPN didn't even show much of the ceremony at all (you can watch it here). I watched the press conference online and live tweeted it (you can watch it here). I watched the KSL special (you can watch it here). And I watched so many, many of Jerry Sloan's games as a head coach.

I distinctly remember being inconsolable when he resigned from the head coaching position, and during that press conference I really didn't handle it well. This time around? I didn't shed a single tear.

Perhaps the main reason was we weren't losing something this time around, we were celebrating accomplishments. This wasn't a goodbye, this was a 'hurrah!' Sloan dominated. He was All-NBA Defense 6 times, was an All-Star twice, has over 1k total wins as a head coach and took a team of late first rounders and mostly 2nd rounders to the NBA Finals twice, and Western Conference Finals five times in a seven year stretch. Then he won 42 games with a Dirty Dozen type of lineup that included starting some NBA D-League guys at times. THEN he took another core to the Western Conference Finals.

Maybe there was nothing to cry about this time around, we just had to bask in greatness?

Or maybe I'm a cold, jaded person who has had to, over the last three seasons, write 30,000 words about people like Josh Howard, DeMarre Carroll, Richard Jefferson, Mike Marris, Raja Bell, Randy Foye, and so on?

Nah, I'm not jaded. It's just that Jerry was amazing. Nothing to cry about here. Right?

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I think yesterday was a happy day, not a sad one. It was like seeing old friends again. For many of the people who where there, it was. You had plenty of people coming from all over to show up for Jerry's big day. John Stockton, Karl Malone, Mark Eaton, Thurl Bailey, Mehmet Okur, Matt Harpring, Howard Eisley, Bryon Russell, John Crotty, Hot Rod Hundley, and so many more where there. Families too! Like a big family reunion it was a time of laughter, stories, and sweet memories.It seemed like a great time was had by all.

And yes, John and Karl both still only have flip phones:

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Trey had a bad night last night picking up a lot of fouls against the starting point guard of the Western Conference All-Stars this year. I'm not going to eat his lunch for that. He's going to the Rookie game, and there he will be going up against some of his peers. I think he's going to be fine. Everyone chill out and watch some videos of him in action again.

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Have you hear of this thing called the All-Star Game? Well, Paul Millsap or the Atlanta Hawks made it. I think we're really happy for him, and consider him a Jazzman for life. Unfortunately, he may not feel the same way. Only really Mehmet Okur thinks like that, despite winning a title with another team. Anyway, back to Paul. Thrillsap has been killing it this season for the Hawks.

This season so far he has played in 44 games (the most on his team, and he missed only one), and averaging 17.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.8 spg, and 1.2 bpg. His FG% isn't as gaudy as it used to be with the Jazz, but he has expended his range significantly and is making 36.9 3PT% despite taking 2.5 three point attempts a game. He still can't get any respect from the refs and only goes to the free throw line 5.1 times in 33.1 mpg. But still, happy for Paul . . .

. . . but the nagging thing is that "Is this a remarkable season for Sap?" Last year was a down year for sure, but he's had some very good years in Utah too.

  • 3rd season ('08-09): 13.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg -- 76 games, 30.1 mpg
  • 5th season ('10-11): 17.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.9 bpg -- 76 games, 34.3 mpg
  • 6th season ('11-12): 16.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.8 bpg -- 64 games (Lockout year), 32.8 mpg

I think it's more likely that in a diluted Eastern Conference, and playing for a Hawks team that's winning games with Al Horford out, had more to do with Sap's All-Star mantle than him being "better" than normal. He's still OUR Paul Millsap, but now more people are seeing him.

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What is the #1 biggest thing you want to see over the remaining 36 games of the season?

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