As a member of the Jazz, Al Jefferson once encouraged Utah fans to boo their own team. When he returned to Utah in December as a Charlotte Bobcat, Jazz fans cheered him.
Now, another former Utah big man, Paul Millsap, is encouraging Jazz fans to boo him when he returns with the Atlanta Hawks.
First, Jazz fans must digest all these complicated for when too and cheer. Once they do that, I suspect they’ll cheer Millsap tonight.
A second-round pick made good, he spent seven years in Utah. Those are the type of players fans typically love, and the high-effort Millsap is certainly no exception.
But it was time for both sides to part. The Jazz wanted to rebuild, and they filled their cap space in order to get draft picks, running out of room for Millsap in the process. So, it’s not as if Millsap simply abandoned Utah when he signed with the Hawks the next day.
In Atlanta, he’s flourished. He made his first All-Star game this season, posting career highs in points, assists and steals per game.
The Jazz are successfully tanking without Millsap’s strong play propping them up. They’ll get an even better pick this way to go along with the ones the Warriors sent.
Both sides came out ahead, and that means Utah fans should ignore Millsap’s advice.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.