Paul Millsap, the model for offensive improvement

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From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Millsap attributes his improvement to “just knowing the offense,” saying that expanding his offensive game was a product of studying Jazz power forwards of the past, Karl Malone and Boozer.

Actual shooting practice is also a big part of the equation.

“He recognized where the shots were going to come from, and that’s what he worked on,” Sloan said. “That’s the exciting thing from a coaching standpoint, to see how guys try to make themselves better.”

via Kragthorpe: Jazz’s Millsap makes himself a shooting star | The Salt Lake Tribune.

If you want to talk about unexpected developments, the fact that Paul Millsap has become more of an offensive weapon with Al Jefferson on the team is a huge one. Millsap is enjoying career highs in points, both per game and minute, in eFG%, and in usage. His rebounding and block numbers are down, while his offense has sprung to life. That jumper’s certainly come in handy, and he’s used it to burn teams.

The Jazz need to improve on defense, understanding their scheme and playing together within the system. That comes with time. Provided they can do that by April, they’re going to be in good position to make a run. They don’t have the size to beat LA, but with Millsap shooting like he is, they have the weapons available to put up a pretty good fight.

Millsap’s also the kind of offensive example you want to throw down in front of Dwight Howard to force him to understand how good he can be. If Paul Millsap can go from block-handed rebound machine to complete offensive player, Howard could be so much more, if only he were to put the work in, not just three days with Hakeem Olajuwon and a few sessions with Patrick Ewing each summer.

In completely unrelated news Paul Millsap is also averaging a career high at the stripe, at 76%.

 

Damian Lillard’s goal in meeting with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen: ‘Spark that urgency’

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Alleviating Paul Allen’s fear, Damian Lillard didn’t request a trade in his requested meeting with the Trail Blazers owner.

So, what did Lillard want to accomplish?

Lillard, in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN:

It was just me showing urgency, spark that urgency, figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we got to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.

Paralyzed by a huge payroll, the Trail Blazers have been going the opposite direction. They dumped Allen Crabbe and Noah Vonleh in their last two significant trades. Portland could let Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier walk in free agency this summer. Luxury-tax concerns aren’t vanishing. Evan Turner‘s, Maurice Harkless’ and Meyers Leonard‘s are major obstacles to upgrading the roster.

The Trail Blazers could be stuck.

That’d be rough news for Lillard, who’s already 27. I understand why he’s trying to push the envelope. His prime is ticking down.

I’m just not sure Portland can help him accomplish his championship-contention goals anytime soon, as hard as he presses.

Adam Silver jokingly thanks Magic Johnson for paying for All-Star Legends Brunch

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The NBA held its annual All-Star Legends Brunch last weekend. Jerry West, James Worthy, Bill Walton and Magic Johnson were honored.

And NBA commissioner Adam Silver delivered a great line while addressing the event.

Silver, via Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

“Magic, thank you for paying for the brunch today.”

So, that’s why Johnson got fined for $50,000 for tampering for innocuous comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald reveals he’s living with incurable heart disease

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The National Basketball Players Association and NBA set up health screenings for former players.

Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who starred for the Kansas City Kings and Boston Celtics, took advantage. Unfortunately, he learned a difficult outcome.

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

IT WAS DECEMBER 2016 when Archibald learned of his diagnosis, during a free screening at the New York offices of the NBPA. And now, more than a year later, he’s still reeling from the news.

“What I have is really rare,” he says. “There’s no pills, nothing they have found that works. I’m being tested all the time, just hoping, you know?

“My [heart] could go any minute. But I’m not ready for that. I want to be around for a long time.”

The medical community has had little success solving the riddle of amyloidosis. For those who suffer from it, aside from participating in clinical trials, or the possibility of a heart transplant, which at Archibald’s age may not be viable, there isn’t much that can be done.

We celebrated Archibald’s 69th birthday last fall with this highlight video. If you’re not familiar with the 6-foot-1 guard’s exciting game, get acquainted:

Hopefully, Archibald gets his wish and sticks around a long time.

Jeremy Lin: I believe J.J. Redick

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76ers guard J.J. Redick explained then apologized for saying what sounded like a slur for Chinese people, claiming he was tongue-tied.

Nets guard Jeremy Lin:

Lin’s Asian-American heritage helps make him very popular with the same people most offended by Redick. Lin vouching for Redick will likely go a long way in diffusing tension.