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News » Millsap's role altered with Boozer back in fold

Millsap's role altered with Boozer back in fold

Millsap's role altered with Boozer back in fold By Jody Genessy Deseret News Paul Millsap's wallet isn't the only thing that expanded since the Utah Jazz last played. The role he'll be used in and the positions on the floor he'll play have also been stretched and extended. With Carlos Boozer back on the team ? making the Jazz loaded with two talented power forwards ?

coach Jerry Sloan and his staff came up with a way to help the organization get its money's worth after agreeing to pay Millsap $32 million over the next four years. The plan? Use Millsap as a small forward, so he can share court time with the Jazz's two-time All-Star power forward. Though Millsap only saw 18 minutes of action in Utah's 103-87 win over Denver on Thursday, a good chunk of that time was in the 3 spot. "It felt good," Millsap said. "I'm still learning the position. It's going to take a little bit of time, but that's what preseason's for ? to get out there and learn it." Sloan thought the switch-up ? Millsap was the small forward with a couple of different lineups ? worked plenty fine in its debut. "Paul did all right," Sloan said. "I'm not worried about him." "He's practiced there," Sloan added. "It's not like it's a big deal as far as him running the plays and stuff. He knows what's going on. We just move him around a little bit and see what happens." It was a bit strange for Millsap to bounce between the two positions, though. At times, the 6-8, 246-pound Millsap was guarding the slippery smooth Carmelo Anthony (6-8, 230) as a small forward. At others, he ended up banging bodies with the beefy Birdman, a.k.a. 6-10, 228-pound Chris Andersen. That, Millsap insisted, was part of the fun of it. "It's different," he admitted. "Coach likes me to mix it up a little bit. He likes to see what I can do. Whoever's steps in front of me I'm going to try to guard with the best of my abilities." The results were somewhat mixed during his mostly quiet seven-point, three-rebound night. Millsap did get burned Anthony for an easy bucket, but he also stepped out and hit a top-of-the-key jumper. Millsap's quickness will especially be needed ? as well as improved outside shooting ? when he ventures into small-forward territory. And he says his improved shooting ? something he really concentrated on this summer along with his ballhandling skills ? will be his secret weapon... "Most of the league doesn't really know I can step out and shoot the ball, so they're going to try to back off me," he said. "They know I like to attack the rim. So if I knock a few of those down they have to come out and guard me." Sloan toyed with the idea of starting Millsap at the small forward spot Thursday, but opted against that. Don't be surprised if both Millsap and Boozer are announced as starters at some point during the exhibition season. Sloan is in experiment mode, and he wants to see how that combo works. Point guard Deron Williams believes it can give the Jazz another weapon in their arsenal. "I think Paul can definitely play the three," he said. "He's played some three in practice and looks good. I like him at three." So, too, does Millsap. Then again, he's just thrilled to be on the court at whatever position. "We're going to use that to our advantage, that could possibly work out. We like that," Millsap said. "There's a lot of threes out there who (find it) tough to guard me, who don't want to guard me really because I'm a four. And I really like that and hopefully we can use that to our advantage." e-mail:

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 3, 2009


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