The NBA Draft recently conducted the Draft lottery where million dollar businesses (a.k.a. NBA franchises) attained their draft fate nigh small featherweight orbs evacuated through a vacuumed vent via a plexi-glass contraption that approximate an igloo visually. Moreover, the choicest Draft pick taken a year ago was chosen at 47th and suits up for the Utah Jazz.
Last summer the Jazz drafted the only player in NCAA Division 1 history to lead the nation in rebounding three consecutive years. Utah actualized a player that shot 52 percent from the field his rookie season and played an eye-catching role as of this writing as an audacious curtain-raiser in the Jazz drive to the Western Conference championship. The view that has been presented is the NBA fandom assessment of Paul Millsap the player.
Paul Millsap the person is a 22-year old native of Monroe, Louisiana that is most gracious of his opportunity and equally as appreciative of his NBA status. Millsap was raised by a single mother and extended family and did not play organized basketball until he was a High School sophomore and promptly became a starter on a successful prep program in Louisiana with his first foray into organized hoops. Millsap’s Uncle DeAngelo Simmons has no reservation in stating that he lived his hoop dreams through the Jazz first year player. It was Simmons, who is the brother of Paul’s mother, that trained the teen player in the rudiments of becoming a pro player. Simmons and Millsap would run five miles a day in Louisiana delta heat that has the oppressive nature of being tumble-dried in a dryer. No wonder Millsap can exert his will in pursuit of errant shots without fatigue.
The Millsap family is regularly grouped at Jazz home games creating a generational lineage that after catching a glimpse of make the TV shows like the Walton’s and Brady Bunch as inviting as skunk soup. The Millsap’s sense of family is the real deal and character is the essence of the teachings Paul’s mother Bettye Millsap grounded him with knee-deep.
Too good to be true? Not for Hollywood. Robert Newman, founder of Athletes & Artists International Marketing, has communicated to me that a manuscript and book about Paul’s uncle DeAngelo and his sacrifice to the family good is in the pipeline for a motion picture. Per Newman his Hollywood pals are enamored with the roots of truth of the Millsap’s power of love and the dynamism of the family unit.
Newman states, “No one gave this family anything.” Agreed, the rewards of earning your keep is entrenched in Paul Millsap slightly left of his solar plexus.
Walk with HoopsAddict.com as I rapped with Paul Millsap Friday evening May 25, 2007 as the Jazz seek to get back in the playoff series against the formidable Spurs of San Antonio. To my readers I’m truly feeling you out there. Much obliged. Now let’s check out the words of Paul Millsap.
HoopsAddict.com: The Jazz are trailing 2-0 and have the next two games at home. What’s the general team atmosphere going into Saturday’s Game 3?
Paul Millsap: We still have confidence as a team. We’re at home and that furthers our (The Jazz) confidence that we can play well and be successful.
HoopsAddict.com: Team execution is a hallmark of the Jazz and Jerry Sloan. Do you expect your team to approach the game with the necessary focus to attain the success you speak on?
Paul Millsap: Of course. We had two great days of practice. After the last practices we feel we have gained the edge and fight to do well Saturday night. The team struggled the first two games in San Antonio but we feel real confident going into Game 3 with support of the home crowd.
HoopsAddict.com: The Jazz are one series away from the NBA finals. As a rookie did you envision your first season being this successful?
Paul Millsap: I never imagined it would (first season) be this successful. At first I was just happy making an NBA roster. I always thought we would have a good season. At training camp I felt that we had a good team and would make the playoffs. I did not expect us to be one of four teams still playing. I do not think anyone expected us to be playing in late May.
HoopsAddict.com: Coach Sloan has played you significant minutes in the playoffs. You have earned the respect of Jerry Sloan without question. Talk about Coach Sloan and the trust he has afforded you?
Paul Millsap: When I first arrived in Utah it was tough because Coach Sloan did not cut me any slack. Coach has been given me tough love ever since I have been in Utah. Coach readied me by wanting me to put out 100% so that was not out of the question for me since I play with effort and spark.
HoopsAddict.com: That’s humble of you to say that you play with spark since you have provided “thump” off the bench. Let’s push back to the Golden State series when teammate Derek Fisher had a memorable performance after arriving in the second half during Game 2 after flying cross country due to a family emergency. Talk about how that served as an inspiration?
Paul Millsap: It impacted me in a major way. That day when he flew East Coach put me in the starting lineup. When Derek showed up based on how the game was going it was a sigh of relief. It not only inspired me it inspired everybody. Watching the heart Derek played with it toughened our team another notch.
HoopsAddict.com: I and others can resonate with your observation. Back to business with the Spurs, you mentioned that the team’s confidence and mettle is bolstered by playing in front of the home crowd. Any expectation for Saturday’s game?
Paul Millsap: As a rookie it’s real good to see our veterans confident and worry free. Watching how our veteran players go about practicing and preparing relaxes me and let’s me know I have to bring it on game day. I think home court will be great for us.
HoopsAddict.com: To our readers many who have not been to a home game in Salt Lake City. Describe the atmosphere?
Paul Millsap: It’s a great feeling playing at home. We have not lost a home game in the playoffs yet since we have incredibly supportive fans. The fans genuinely care about us and we definitely appreciate the fans. Returning to our home court when you see we don’t have any playoff losses at our place it is a sign to everyone how are fans get behind the team. We have great fans!
HoopsAddict.com: Here’s an opportunity to say something to the Utah Jazz fans. The fans have given you and the team plenty of support what would you like to address to Jazz fans?
Paul Millsap: I would like to say thank you to the Utah Jazz nation. It’s great to have this kind of appreciation and I’m real grateful that my NBA experience is in Utah. Traveling around the NBA there are teams that don’t get the support we do. I’d like to say again, much gratitude to all Jazz fans.
HoopsAddict.com: Going into Game 3 the Jazz will have to play collectively at a consistent high level. Reviewing your performance what does Paul Millsap have to do in Game 3 better than the first two games in San Antonio?
Paul Millsap: Personally I have to stay out of foul trouble. I have been in foul trouble the past two games and I was not able to provide the team the extra energy I normally do. I need to play aggressive but smarter. I have to provide that spark.
HoopsAddict.com: You mention spark. Are you the team energizer or is that your natural view of your role coming off the bench primarily?
Paul Millsap: It’s natural. I’m grateful to have the chance to play and be out on the floor. I’m not concerned how long I’m on the floor I just want to do well and help my team advance. So I’m cool with being a sparkplug.
HoopsAddict.com: Outstanding. Rebounding is your forte since you are a collegiate record holder at the Division 1 level by being the only player to lead the Nation in rebounding three consecutive years. Talk about your rebounding approach.
Paul Millsap: My rebounding I do it well but I can’t explain it.
HoopsAddict.com: I hear you. Your comment reminds of how I once asked this lady how she became such a great seamstress she responded, “That’s like asking a physicist to breakdown the speed of light”. Is that what you’re relaying?
Paul Millsap: (Chuckles) something like that. I just have the right instinct. I anticipate that every shot will be a miss.
HoopsAddict.com: Interesting. Treat every shot like a miss. So you shared some of your sacred rebounding philosophy. In one word how would you describe the science of rebounding?
Paul Millsap: Desire. The will to go get the ball. Plenty of players do not go after the ball every play…these players try to conserve energy. Me…I go after the ball every play.
HoopsAddict.com: So you can breakdown your rebounding mindset. I’ll let your other on the boards’ stratagems remain vaulted.
Paul Millsap: Okay.
HoopsAddict.com: You went to Louisiana Tech which is the same school that produced Jazz great Karl Malone and NBA veteran PJ Brown who also are power forwards. Do you communicate with these fellow alumni?
Paul Millsap: I don’t. We communicate through mutual people we know but we have not met and sat down and talked. I played against PJ Brown but don’t have a personal relationship with PJ. We’re all very busy so at some point we’ll get together.
HoopsAddict.com: The NBA Draft is coming up and the draft lottery recently happened. Last year you were a 2nd round pick that went 47th overall so obviously plenty of teams would love to re-visit the Draft after your performance this year. Let’s go to the time machine and share your thoughts on what was going through your mind Draft Day 2006?
Paul Millsap: My initial thoughts were self doubt. I doubted myself… was I good enough for the NBA? Did I make the right decision to come out? Utah showed faith and confidence in me by drafting me and by that confidence I ended up in a great situation.
HoopsAddict.com: I appreciate your reflective honesty. Was part of your motivation going into this season a passion to prove the previous 46 selectors of NBA players that they made a mistake passing you up?
Paul Millsap: Right, Right. That was definitely a focus for me to prove teams wrong. After my first focus which was learning the NBA game my second focus was to prove I can play. It definitely was a motivation to prove teams that did not select me I was NBA ready and can play at a high level.
HoopsAddict.com: A-one players typically find motivation from various places to keep there motor running at opportune times. If Draft Day blues keeps your competitive fires stoked more power to you. You have had plenty of Rookie success as a result. Let’s talk about All-Star weekend. You were selected to play in the T-Mobile rookie/sophomore game. What was the Vegas experience like?
Paul Millsap: It was a great weekend for me. I can’t remember having that much fun. I really enjoyed being out there with all the other rookies who were my teammates it was fun since none of us had to worry about the regular season. It was an awesome experience. Played the Rookie Sophomore All Star game hung out a little bit and relaxed.
HoopsAddict.com: So Paul Millsap hung out and relaxed in Las Vegas – got it!
Paul Millsap: (Laughing) I hung out a little bit.
HoopsAddict.com: Did you attend any NBA player hosted parties at the various casinos?
Paul Millsap: I did not get a chance to attend any of those parties. I’m not a party guy and definitely like passing on crowds. I like keeping a low profile.
HoopsAddict.com: Don’t change, be you. Back to the hardwood, so you’re more than a rebounder. This season you shot over 50% from the field. Do you see yourself in the going forward career wise as a “go to guy” in the half-court set?
Paul Millsap: Of course. Right now my offensive approach is to do whatever I can to make the team successful. The Jazz right now do not run any plays for me I just take what comes my way and score garbage points. In the future I hope to improve on my offensive game so Coach can move me out to the three slots. That’s what the team is preparing me for, to play the small forward position.
HoopsAddict.com: So future plans of Millsap at the 3 and Carlos Boozer at the 4. Power frontline…
Paul Millsap: Coach has played me at the 3 this season at various times to see what I can do. I want to be known as a versatile player.
HoopsAddict.com: You’re well on your way. The next question is one you can answer plenty of ways and have different answers each day. So as of today, what has been the best NBA experience or most memorable experience you enjoyed as a first year player?
Paul Millsap: Besides Vegas, wow, I’d have to say everyday. Everyday has been the best experience and each day I’m grateful for being a player in the NBA. I have to say everyday has been the greatest experience.
HoopsAddict.com: That’s very profound. You have plenty of graciousness and a conscientious about your current status. Talk about the gratitude you freely express.
Paul Millsap: This has been a chance of a lifetime and I want to enjoy my first season every step.
HoopsAddict.com: Very wise of you. My opinion as well as many others is that you and Carlos Boozer are the best young power forward tandem in the NBA based on production and your team’s appearance in the NBA version of the Final Four. How has practicing against Carlos Boozer in practice helped your development?
Paul Millsap: It’s been great. A big part of my development has been Carlos Boozer. Watching Carlos play in games and playing against him in practice has helped me plenty. I never get a call in practice when going up against Boozer so I’ve learned to play through veterans getting all the whistles. Those practice situations help me to be a better player and Carlos always gives me excellent advice.
HoopsAddict.com: Do the practice session’s scrimmages between you and Boozer get physical?
Paul Millsap: Physical but never dirty. Carlos and I are the best of friends off the court. Carlos has been a friend and a mentor.
HoopsAddict.com: That’s admirable of Boozer to take you under his wing and teach you the ropes of the NBA. As a rookie what has been the most difficult adjustment for you in the NBA both on and off the court?
Paul Millsap: It’s a long season. I had to learn to condition in a new way to keep my body in shape to fight through fatigue. The Coach’s motivate me to stick with it. I have hit the wall a couple of times this season but I fought through the wall by my Coach’s continuance to support me. It’s been big benefits to have our coaching staff get behind me as a rookie. That’s on the court. Off the court not everyone knows what we go through so it’s hard dealing with people who approach you all the time whenever you’re out in public.
HoopsAddict.com: There are NBA prospects reading this interview that would like to know some of those special circumstances that NBA player’s experience that are not on the typical potential incident barometer. What can you share to define one of those circumstances?
Paul Millsap: Some people deal with you very impersonally. Since NBA players are very visible, people approach you as if they know you for years. Not everybody deals with you that way it’s just new to me when it happens.
HoopsAddict.com: So I gather your people skills have increased tremendously since joining the NBA?
Paul Millsap: Yes. They had to.
HoopsAddict.com: Alright. Robert Newman, your marketing agent and the founder/owner of Athletes and Artists International Marketing in Los Angeles, has articulated to me the tremendous family support you receive while growing up and currently. Talk about the family support that is your bedrock?
Paul Millsap: My family has always been there. It’s just natural for me to have great support from my loved ones. I’m comfortable about that (the family support) because it’s always been there.
HoopsAddict.com: Growing up it is clear that the values you attained as a youth have formed your disposition of respect and appreciation. You mention your graciousness for your current place in the world and speak honorably about life virtues. Being raised in Monroe, Louisiana speak on the character building that was garnered upon you as a youth?
Paul Millsap: I have a great mother. My mother is a religious woman and made sure that she raised me and my brothers to have strong character and to be honorable people. My mother is my hero. When my family moved from Denver, Colorado to Monroe, Louisiana every one we lived around noticed my mother was a single parent so all my family that lived in Monroe helped us out. My mother knew me and my brother’s loved basketball so my Uncle DeAngelo started training us as basketball players.
*Note: Paul has a brother John Millsap that plays basketball in the minor league the USBL, brother Elijah Millsap plays ball at University Louisiana-Lafayette and brother Abraham Millsap is a star prep player in the State of Louisiana.
HoopsAddict.com: Robert Newman has also shared with me the prominent role your Uncle DeAngelo Simmons has played in your progress as a player and man. Talk about the selfless Uncle DeAngelo?
Paul Millsap: He’s a great Uncle and my best friend. I’m so thankful for all he’s done for me and the sacrifices he’s made for me and my brothers. He never asked us for anything other than for us to the best people and players we can strive to be.
HoopsAddict.com: Uncle DeAngelo also trained you and proudly mentions how he elevated you to a varsity starter without ever playing organized ball that eventually made you prep Parade All-American. Talk about the workouts DeAngelo put you through?
Paul Millsap: The workouts were hard. We ran in sweltering heat 5 miles a day and then went to the gym which was 100 plus degrees or more and worked out for hours. My Uncle pushed me hard and I owe him a lot for seeing more in me than I seen in myself.
HoopsAddict.com: All that effort and you’re in the NBA and DeAngelo is your player agent. That leads me to the following. Since your family is so very much a part of your career personally and business wide what attracted to you to Athletes & Artists International Marketing in Hollywood since the world of sports agent is a tough grind?
Paul Millsap: DeAngelo handles plenty of my business side and sensed Robert Newman had my best interest first and foremost. DeAngelo has good perception about people he passed on plenty of agents. He told me about Robert Newman so I took the time to get to know him and I connected with his goals and sincerity. My family knows him and he’s done a great job.
HoopsAddict.com: I understand you have a goal to positively impact the community. Talk about that for our readers.
Paul Millsap: I have several camps planned this summer so that’s a prime goal and I have several other goals yet I’m starting with youth camps a way to give back.
HoopsAddict.com: Noble effort. I appreciate your time your candor and enjoyed the vital information you shared with me and our readers. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Paul Millsap: That’s it that’s my life.
HoopsAddict.com: Good luck tomorrow night in Game 3 and I appreciate the time.
Paul Millsap: I’d like to thank you and much appreciated. Thank you.