Why It's Good That the Utah Jazz Kept Paul Millsap
Despite Avengers-level hype, the 2013 NBA trade deadline yielded John Carter-level disappointment.
The Utah Jazz were certainly one of the teams universally expected to make an 11th-hour deal due to their frontcourt surplus and their need for a long-term answer at point guard. The contributors to the superb The Basketball Jones podcast were among the many NBA bloggers, writers and other NBA personalities du jour who expressed surprise and disappointment that Utah stood pat.
Despite the roster imbalance Utah currently has, a lack of action on their part is actually a good thing.
Amid a lot of frustration and anger from Jazz fans due to Utah's lack of action at the trade deadline, it's important to look at the situation from the correct perspective.
What options did Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey really have available?
It would be foolish to take any of the trade rumors involving Utah as gospel truth. As unsatisfying as it is, we'll probably never know what trade offers Dennis Lindsey had sitting on the table. If Lindsey had any no-brainer deals offered to him, it would be an insult to Lindsey to think he would've turned them down.
Yes, there may have been a deal or two offered that some Jazz fans would've taken, but not the franchise-altering blockbuster that seems to be thought true by disgruntled armchair GMs.
Putting hypothetical trades aside, the value of Paul Millsap, both for this year and potentially the future, is being seriously undervalued.
Most consider Millsap expendable due to the presence of young big men Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. While he has shown improvement (not to mention some downright filthy footwork in the post), Kanter is clearly still a work in progress. Derrick Favors could start for the Jazz and do an admirable job, but his offensive game is not where it needs to be yet. Favors also has some bad habits, namely traveling way too often.
Millsap provides the veteran presence and offensive acumen Kanter and Favors are still in the process of developing.
Possibly the most significant and overlooked factor of keeping Millsap is the flexibility it will provide the Jazz in the upcoming offseason. Millsap can be thought of as an insurance policy of sorts. It's a widely accepted fact that no more than one of Millsap and Jefferson will be coming back next year, as both are free agents.
Had the Jazz dealt Millsap, it would've been akin to planting their flag firmly in the Al Jefferson camp. While this remains a distinct possibility, the Jazz now have the option to go forward with Millsap instead. Had Utah traded Millsap, the team would've been running the risk of Jefferson suffering a major injury or deciding to go elsewhere, essentially taking Utah from a frontcourt-loaded team to one very thin and very young.
For a patient team that values loyalty, it falls within a reasonable line of logic that Millsap would stay with the Jazz for the rest of the year. While it may be Millsap's last few months with the only NBA team he's ever played for, Millsap's contributions will lend further credence to the idea that keeping him was the right step.
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