The start of the NBA season plays really quickly, resulting in many stories being glossed over. If you didn’t notice, here are a few early notes about the start of what already is an exciting season.
1. The Moneyman cashes in
At 33 years old, former Jazz center Mehmet Okur announced his retirement after not recovering completely from an ankle injury suffered in the 2010 playoffs. On basketballprospectus.com, author Kevin Pelton analyzed Okur’s career and noted just how special Okur was.
European players changed the game by creating the stretch four, but Okur is the only stretch center in the modern NBA. The only player comparable historically was Sam Perkins, who made his name with the Sonics in the nineties.
But Perkins was a role player sent in to change the tempo. Okur not only started on a playoff contender, but also went up against the opposing post player on defense because if his size.
When Okur played for the Jazz, we loved him because of how he always showed up and worked hard. It will be debated if he is the greatest center in Jazz history, but he absolutely was the most unique.
2. Millsap: the progression
Paul Millsap, the last remaining player from the Boozer/Williams era, carved a niche by being one of the hardest workers in the NBA. Each year, Millsap would return with another skill added to his arsenal, while his other talents have yet to show signs of eroding.
But adding a 3-point shot? That is unfair.
Not only has Millsap added a deadly 3-point shot, but has unleashed it in key situations this season. Against Toronto last Monday night, he went 3-4 while scoring 34 points, leading the Jazz overtime comeback against the Raptors.
He is fourth in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage, hitting 55 percent through Sunday.
Millsap’s percentage will drop, but the discretion he has with his shot selection will keep him among the most efficient shooters in the league.
He already is the most efficient on the Jazz in terms of overall performance. Should this prove to be a trend instead of an outlier, Millsap could break through and represent the Jazz in February’s All-Star game.
For more information check out the Nov.22 edition of Davis Clipper.