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NBA Free Agency 2014: Trevor Booker is NOT Paul Millsap, and the tale of the tape inside the paint

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Sometimes it's okay to actually look at the information available.

Jonathan Daniel

I'm still investigating Trevor Booker. There's a reason why he's on the team, and I really believe that Utah Jazz fans will enjoy his style of play when he's on the court. I know I will. But some people out there need a little more convincing. That's fine. I will be happy to do some of it. The first issue here is that, well, he's a short power forward who bangs, scraps, and plays in the paint. There have been a few of these types of players in recent seasons that fit this tree sump archetype: Reggie Evans, DeJuan Blair, Elton Brand, Jason Maxiell, and of course, our own prodigal son Paul Millsap .

Yeah, in socks Paul Millsap 's combine measurement for height is the same as Trevor Booker 's. But let me be there to tell you, flat out, that Booker isn't Millsap And the tale of the tape shows what I'm talking about. And -- this is the important part -- the tale of the tape is surprising and you will be shocked at what it reveals.

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Height in socks:

Yes, Paul Millsap and Trevor Booker are both 6' 6.25" tall in socks. They will both be forever listed at 6'8 height regardless. Another Jazz family member at that height (78.25") is Kyle Korver . In fact Booker/Sap are closer in height to Ronnie Brewer (shorter) than they are to Calbert Cheaney or Marvin Williams (taller). Within the greater picture of recorded (as in: combine or other type of anthropometric testing) Jazz history there have been no shorter guys playing inside:

And again, guys like Marvin Williams / DeMarre Carroll are taller in socks. But you know what's great about that? No one plays in socks. Furthermore, height by itself is a nice concept, but no one blocks shots with their forehead. There are better metrics to use to see if someone can actually get to balls or not. And some people have "useless" height, like they have long necks or long torsos. Guys like Booker do not have useless height.

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Wingspan:

This is the first step when you need to distinguish Paul Millsap, a guy who has averaged 1.4, 1.8, 1.3, and 1.7 spg over the last four seasons, against Booker. Trevor's wingspan (key for defense, deflections, and so many other things) Paul has a recorded wingspan of 7' 1.50", or 85.50". That's the same wingspan as Enes Kanter. And it is much longer than his height is. That's a wingspan to sock height ratio of 1.093. What about Trevor? His wingspan is 6'9.75" (or 81.75"). That's 3.75" shorter. How big is 3.75"? Well, according to peer reviewed journals (link removed) it's big enough to make a difference inside (the paint? uh, yeah.). Trevor's wingspan to height ratio is 1.045. So he's a normal looking guy, not a freak. Unfortunately for the other stumpy PFs out there (Brand et al) they are freaks with more Millsapian wingspan to height ratios.

Where does Trevor rank among Jazz bigs?

Well, out of all the bigs I have (from Rudy Gobert down to Steve Novak -- and 15 guys in between), Trevor is second last. Novak's 6'9.50" is the only guy he is longer than in this respect. Even Peter Fehse is a more intimidating passing lane defender. For those keeping score at home for how other PFs have fared (and thus, removing the indignity of any Rudy Gobert comparisons):

  • Derrick Favors -- 7'4.00"
  • Carlos Boozer -- 7'2.25"
  • Robert Whaley -- 7'2.00"
  • Enes Kanter / Paul Millsap -- 7'1.50"
  • Kris Humphries -- 7'0.50"

That's not super hot. There are a bunch of wingplayers with longer wingspans in Jazz history: Marvin Williams (7'3.40"), Josh Howard (7'3.00"), Richard Jefferson (7'0.00"), Shan Foster (6'11.50"), Ronnie Brewer (6'11.25"), Brandon Rush (6'11.25"), Roger Powell (6'11.00"), Travis Leslie (6'10.50"), DeMarre Carroll (6'10.00"), Alec Burks (6'10.00"), Morris Almond (6'10.00"). And keep in mind that we don't have ANY data on Andrei Kirilenko, who would just kill all of these metrics so far. Trevor's wingspan of 6'9.75" isn't that far off of Dante Exum 's wingspan of 6'9.50". Food for thought.

So Booker is short and doesn't have long arms. Does that automatically make him unfit to play power forward for the Jazz? I don't think so.

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Standing Reach:

Booker makes a great comeback here, as he -- even with his short arms -- is the 11th best (out of 59 guys) in Jazz standing reach. Wingspan is great for corralling a guy when he's driving. Standing reach is more important for when you need to stand up with your arms up and try to get the guy who made it into the paint to miss. Booker's standing reach is a very healthy 8'10.00". This means that while he is short, and has shorter arms than some other PFs, he has high shoulders. He doesn't have a Chris Bosh neck. But he has those Kevin McHale shoulders.

Booker's #11 here is better than Millap's #13 here by 0.50", but it still counts. What we can hope here is that these two tree stump archetype forwards defend in different ways. Millsap has longer arms and that helps him get to more balls on rebounds or steals or whatever. Booker may be more of a traditional paint protector because of his reach.

The only bigs with a shorter standing reach than Booker are Paul Millsap, Jarron Collins, and Steve Novak. Sadly we do not have the values for the standing reaches for Marcus Cousin, A-Rado, Luther Wright, Greg Ostertag, Keon Clark, and John Amaechi -- bigs that we have several other values for.

No one does the pure calculation of Wingspan x Reach -- but me. For those who care, Millsap's value is 9,020.25" (11th best on the team); Booker's is 8,665.50" (16th best on the team). But that number, like most of these numbers, has no determination upon someone's ability to play basketball or not.

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Hand size:

Trevor Booker has larger hands than Derrick Favors. His hands are probably larger than Paul Millsap's too. Booker's hands are the third largest in Jazz recorded history, second only to Gobert and Kanter. While Sap relies on his wingspan to do a lot of his work for him, Booker is just a guy out there with two big catchers mitts. I have the values for it, but I don't want guys here to get insecure. But for those who care, Kanter's hand width is almost a Subway footlong, and Gobert's hand length is long enough to be the most uncomfortable rectal exam ever.

I have the worst analogies. Moving on...

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Trevor Booker is, without a doubt, the most athletic guy at his size.

Sure, these values we are grading the players on don't include the data for Jeremy Evans (aka 12'8) or Andrei Kirilenko (Mr. 5x5) -- but from the values we have, and for his weight class in particular, Booker can flat out book it. Paul Millsap worked on his game and his body every year in the league. But Booker is in another class.

Booker has a vertical jump (no run up) of 31.00". Sure, Derrick Favors had one that's 0.50" greater -- but no one is talking about Booker being a gifted athlete. He jumped better than everyone except favors here. Here are the guys Booker's jump beat: Morris Almond (31.00"), Devin Harris (30.50"), Gordon Hayward (30.50"), Kirk Snyder (30.00"), a young, never injured ever Marvin Williams (29.00"), and everyone else that wasn't named Brewer, Leslie, Rush, Price, and Favors. And Dante Exum. Sorry, Exum's jump was 0.50" greater as well, like Favs.

What about jumping after a full run-up? Well, Booker's 36.00" max vertical places him at #13 out of 59 in Jazz history (again, no AK or Evans numbers). It's the same value we get for Alec Burks and Rodney Hood -- too athletic wing players. Everyone else who jumped higher weighs about 20 points fewer than him, if not more. His max vert is better than Brandon Rush, or Kirk Snyder, or even Dante Exum's.

Okay, jumping isn't booking it, dumbledore.

Be patient.

If you add his jump to his impressive standing reach you get someone with the #7th best no step standing reach (good for jumping up and trying to block guys going for layups when you are trapped near the rim) -- at 11'5.00". His value beats a number of centers on our list. And his Maximum reach, the thing that Evans is at 12'8.00" in has him placing at #8 out of 59 guys. He's not in that 12' club, but he can really get up there.

He also doesn't cheat in the weight room. at the combine he put the bar up there 22 times, which ties the Jazz record held by Kris Humphries. Millsap, a name you haven't heard in a while, got it up there 15 times. Al Jefferson? Only 5. I can only imagine that Booker has gotten stronger since becoming a pro athlete.

He can bang. He can jump. But, more than anything else, he can run.

His lane agility score is 4th best among bigs, and his sprint is 1st. That doesn't show you how remarkable it is. His lane agility score is 20th best in Jazz history, and his sprint time is . . . 2nd best all time. Josh Howard (when he was young) ran a 3.09 second sprint. Booker? 3.10 seconds. Booker was more than 30 points heavier than Howard when he ran his.

Btw, y'all remember a guy running North / South on the fast break and finishing plays? A bigman who maybe wasn't the tallest or had the longest arms? I'm not saying anything, but I am saying that Booker, at least back when he was a pre-draft guy, was really fast. Faster than Ronnie Brewer, Raul Neto, Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Dante Exum, Earl Watson, Devin Harris, Ronnie Price, everyone except Josh Howard.

The next fastest bigman is Kris Humphries who clocked in at 3.17 seconds. After him Derrick Favors at 3.20 seconds. Carlos Boozer was at 3.31 seconds. Steve Novak at 3.3 seconds.

If trained to use his talents Booker has the athleticism to help many teams. Quin Snyder suggests that he wants to run when there is the opportunity. In the summer league I saw a lot of fast breaks that ended up with bad misses as the PG was just too fast for anyone else. In Booker we have a bigman finisher who is faster than all of our PGs.

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There's more to life than just anthropometrics:

I know. At the end of the day Trevor Booker is still a short power forward who has short arms, and doesn't match up to the wingspan of guys like Elton Brand or Paul Millsap. By the same token, they can't jump like he can. They aren't as strong as he is. And they are much, much slower as well.

Which makes a lot of sense when you see how differently these guys play.

Just because Trevor Booker is the same height as him, Booker is no Paul Millsap. But by the very same token, Paul Millsap is no Trevor Booker when we look at the tale of the tape.