The next Karl Malone?
Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer have been forever linked to their predecessors, John Stockton and Karl Malone. It is of course an unfair comparison. The longevity and durability of Stockton and Malone’s careers put them in a class by themselves. Deron Williams has a lot of the same characteristics of Stockton. Boozer is the second half of the duo that the Jazz have been building on since the HOF’s departures. But maybe it’s not Boozer we should be comparing to Malone.
He’s been there in front of our eyes this entire time. The similarities to Malone are remarkable and yet we still see Boozer as heir to Karl’s power forward throne in Utah.
Saturday night (12/20/2008) against the Bulls, Paul Millsap recorded his 15th consecutive double-double. While filling in for the injured Boozer, Millsap has already began to make Jazz fans forget about the injured All-Star. With the recent controversy surrounding Boozer, fans are ready to give Carlos the boot and replace him with the third-year monster.
Millsap’s double-double streak is something that Boozer has never done. In fact, the last person to have such a streak for the Jazz was the Mailman himself when he put together 16 straight such games. Here are some other striking similarities:
After Malone’s rookie year, the Jazz decided it was time to turn the team over to him and Stockton. So they traded Adrian Dantley to the Pistons and Stockton to Malone was born.
The Jazz could be doing the same thing some 20 years later if Boozer decides to opt out of his contract. They could even trade him before the season is over. In Boozer’s absence, Millsap has averaged nearly 19 & 11 a game. Throw in Millsap’s superior defense, and it’s no wonder fans want him over Boozer.
You have to compare Millsap’s stats to Malone’s per 36 minutes as he doesn’t get as many minutes as Malone did early in his career.
Millsap has a better FG% & FT%, more steals, more blocks, and less turnovers in his first three years than Malone. Karl had a slight edge in rebounds, less personal fouls, and of course more points. But he also had six more field goal attempts a game than Millsap. In the Stockton and Malone days, it was Stockton and Malone and that’s about it. They had various role player, but scoring always went through Karl. With the current Jazz team, the scoring is much more spread around.
So the only thing that you might have to worry about is if Millsap is just playing this way because it’s his contract year. You can’t dismiss that there’s a part of that in his play. But the overwhelming evidence shows that he plays like this day in and day out. He played in all 82 games as a rookie. You simply don’t do that under Jerry Sloan in your first year in the league. Deron Williams didn’t even start a lot of the games in his first year because Sloan felt like he hadn’t earned it yet.
It’s still unfair to compare him or anyone else to Malone. I’ve never liked it when they say that so and so is the next so and so. If Millsap’s not trying to become the next Malone, he’s doing a pretty poor job.
You can read more about the Utah Jazz and Basketball John’s writings at SLCDunk.com