According to Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune, Carlos Boozer was at practice on Sunday morning in practice gear. And not only that, but Boozer did not dismiss the idea that he could play by the end of the week.
This is certainly great news to hear, especially with Boozer, who has the reputation of being a slow healer. There are Jazz fans, though, who are wishing that his history of being a slow healer continues with this current injury.
Lately, I have heard that people don’t feel the same way about Boozer as I do. A lot of people feel that Boozer’s injury helps the team, as they are forced to give more minutes to Paul Millsap. But what these people fail to realize is that both players have an important role to this team, and they are both better players because of each other.
If Boozer was not the full-time starter and Millsap was, do you think that Millsap has the kind of performance he had against the Kings the other night? I highly doubt it. It were the elements of freshness and surprise that helped Millsap perform at such a high level on Friday night.
Now I understand that Millsap is no secret in this league, but being that he is not a guy who usually plays 43 minutes, there were aspects of his game that were ‘new’ to his opponents, and he was definitely fresher than they were. If you just threw in Millsap as the starter for the rest of the season, you would see that his numbers would come back down to earth over time, and you would also see that Boozer deserves to be the starter. (For instance, you’ve all seen how a backup QB has a great game and everybody wants to anoint him the starter. But then over time, the league figures him out, and you realize why he was a backup in the first place).
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Millsap has always been one of my favorites. However, the role that Jerry Sloan gives him, as a guy who usually comes off of the bench, is the role that helps him yield his best results. If he suddenly became a full-time starter, I think his numbers would suffer dramatically. This is not to say that he would be a terrible player if he became a starter. I am just saying that the way to get the most out of Paul Millsap is to continue to bring him off of the bench. If you need to make him the starter here and there, that’s okay, but a full-time starter just doesn’t suit him best at this point in time.
Jerry Sloan has a model that he follows each and every season. There are certain players that fit his model as starters, and there are certain players that fit his model as reserves. Jerry’s plan has been working for over 20 seasons, and it has worked out quite well. So how about we leave those decisions to Jerry, and let him mix and match his players as he pleases? If Utah fails to make the playoffs this season, then you can start to question him a little bit. But until that happens, you have to trust him and know that he is doing what’s best for his team. Even if, to the naked eye, it seems illogical.