Carlos Boozer vs. Paul Millsap: How Do You Solve a Good Problem?
Despite fighting for a playoff spot in the West, losing five of the last seven, Andrei Kirilenko's recent injury, and still competing without Carlos Boozer, the Jazz have developed a very good solution for the last problem.
The 23-year-old is averaging 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. His 56.2 FG percent is eighth in the NBA and he's fourth in offensive rebounds with 176 in 43 games.
Millsap has scored 20 points in 12 of his 30 starts and 10 rebounds in 23 starts.
But have we forgotten about Boozer? The guy who's averaged 20-10 the past three seasons? The player who's 18th all-time in FG percentage? The two-time All-Star?
That's where Utah's really good problem comes in.
Millsap and Boozer are free agents after this season and surely they'll retain one of them.
Coach Jerry Sloan has always made the power forward position a top priority in his pick-and-pop system to go along with the point guard. It goes back to Stockton and Malone, but perhaps Deron Williams could use a new partner in crime.
Boozer is the more proven player, but there are advantages to choosing Millsap.
Boozer is on pace to be the top free agent and should be in high demand in a free agent class lacking superstars. But the Jazz may have enough for him to re-sign with a $71 million payroll going into next season.
Boozer's deal is likely to exceed Elton Brand's five-year, $80 million deal, also signed after coming off a major injury.
Millsap is also four years younger than Boozer, whose injury history has continued into this season. When Boozer arrived in Utah in 2004, he played 84 games in his first two seasons.
I recently wrote an article called "Ten NBA Teams That Need to Make a Trade." And the Jazz were one of them.
The main reason was that most championship teams are built around big men, but Millsap may not be a championship caliber frontcourt leader due to inexperience and not truly being a "superstar."
Boozer was the No. 1 big man before injury, but he may not be the same when he returns. With all of Millsap's advantages, Boozer is the superior player and the Jazz may be better suited with Boozer even in the long run.
Nonetheless, the Jazz are in good hands with either one of them. Both are All-Star-caliber players who fit into the system.
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