09 February 2011
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, the main event.
In the red corner, six-nine, 266 pounds, the pride of Juneau, Alaska, two-time all-star and former Jazz man, the Bull in a china shop, Car (roll the "r") los Booooooozerrr!
And in the navy blue corner, the challenger, six-eight, 250 pounds, Louisiana's second son, undefeated up-and-comer, the Miami Miracle Man, Paul Milllsaaap!
For the thousands in attendance, and the millions watching around the world (Blah, blah, blah... you know the rest. Besides, I don't feel like getting sued by Michael Buffer today)...
Many were sure Paul Millsap would step right into the "dearly" departed Carlos Boozer's 20/10 role for the Utah Jazz. So, here's how they stack up in the 2010-11 season in the tale of the tape:
Many fans will key in on the far right, games played, and stop right there. However, despite playing 20 less games Boozer has pulled in only 77 less total rebounds this season, 329 for Booz to 406 for Sap. This has been the most glaring drop-off in Millsap's game this year, unusual for an NCAA rebounding legend, and it's shown in the box scores and Jazz rebound rankings.
Boozer's game hasn't changed with the move to the Windy City. Millsap's has.
With an increased range to his game, coupled with a want to stay on the floor after carrying one of the highest foul rates in the league last season, Millsap's game has gone mid-range on us. It shows in the numbers in not only his reduced, career-lows total rebounding and fouls rates, but also the career-low blocks and turnover rates, as well as a career second-least per-36-minutes free throws attempted.
Millsap's offense, points-per-game and AST% are at career highs, though, as well as his Player Efficiency Rating, at 19.9 to Boozer's 21.5 (slightly higher than his career PER of 20.9).
The Jazz struggle in pick-and-defense, badly. Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer run a deadly PnR, something to watch for tonight with the scouting reports having fully circulated at this point.
Here we see that both players are among the league leaders at the power forward position in differential efficiency, a measurement of production between one player and their opponent. Boozer again holds the overall edge, individually.
The Chicago Bulls as a team, however, behind first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau and his defense-first mindedness, have managed to become the league's leader in Defensive Rating. The Jazz as a team this season at the PF spot are a net -1.8 diff. efficiency per-game; very probably a reflection of the lessened impact Millsap has had on the defensive end of the floor.
How do the pair stack up in the split stats categories (road and home, and versus the opposing conference/division)?
Yikes. On paper this is turning into a mismatch in the 94x50-foot ring.
But don't panic. Most likely, we won't be seeing too much straight-up Booz-on-Sap action; there will be a lot of switches on defense where Millsap will draw Bulls' starting center 6'9" Kurt Thomas and backup PF Taj Gibson, who split a lot of minutes in the frontcourt, while Al Jefferson gets Boozer.
Can you say "Pump fake'd!"