Jazz notes » Sloan considered starting him at small forward.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan promised different starting lineups throughout the preseason, including potentially different combinations for the first and second halves of some games, before opting to start Carlos Boozer over Paul Millsap in Thursday's opener.
That said, Sloan acknowledged that he considered starting Millsap at small forward alongside Boozer at power forward, before deciding to bring Millsap off the bench and start C.J. Miles and Andrei Kirilenko at the two wing spots.
With Kirilenko (strained left quadriceps) and Miles (strained left hip flexor) bothered by injuries this week, Sloan believed it was best to have both start the game after going through warm-ups rather than getting cold on the bench.
Millsap expressed no frustration at not starting. "Not at all," he said. "I treat it like I treated it last year: continue to come off the bench and spark that energy for us."
Although Millsap's primary position is power forward, Sloan has discussed using him as a small forward to increase his minutes.
"That's something I've been working on," Millsap said. "I think I'd do a good job at that position. I've worked on my jump shot, extended my game out further, ball-handling, things like that. But to get out there, to get confidence to play that position, that'd do me a lot of justice."
Boozer said such a lineup with Millsap at small forward, himself at power forward and Mehmet Okur at center could be "really explosive."
"You think about it, with the height that we have, we could be really big," Boozer said. "Paul is like 240 [pounds], great skills. He can play a lot of three for us.
"He can mix it up and rebound and bang a little bit, kind of like what Matty [ Harpring ] did last year."
Millsap would have to defend opposing small forwards, like Boston's Paul Pierce and Denver's Carmelo Anthony , but said of the prospect: "That means nothing to me. I feel like I can guard anybody. That's not a problem."
He added that the offensive side to playing small forward would be more difficult than the defensive, simply because he would have to learn plays from another spot.
"There's a lot of threes out there who don't want to guard me, really, because I'm a four and I bang and they don't really like that," Millsap said. "Hopefully, we can try to use that to our advantage."
Kyle Korver sat out Thursday with an inflamed left knee and said he has no timetable for getting back on the court. "It's pretty painful, certain cuts and certain movements," Korver said. "Until that goes away, it's just not worth it to play."
Korver added that bending his knee forward is a source of pain for now and that he doesn't feel as if he's falling behind in the preseason. "It's hard to watch everybody practice right now, but it's part of it," Korver said.
Former broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley was a guest of Jazz president Randy Rigby at Thursday's game, which also marked David Locke 's debut as voice of the Jazz.