SALT LAKE CITY — University of Alabama-Birmingham junior Elijah Millsap has decided to leave school early and keep his name in the NBA draft pool, it was learned Friday.
There's no doubting how Paul Millsap feels about the matter.
Yet he didn't tell Elijah Millsap what to do — or even say if he thought his younger brother was NBA-ready.
At least not to his face.
"Of course he asked me," said Paul Millsap, the Jazz's backup power forward. "And I haven't given him any feedback.
"I don't want to mislead him into anything he doesn't want to do, so I'll just leave that decision up to him."
Millsap and other college underclassmen have until May 8 to decide for certain if they'll stay in the draft or withdraw from consideration.
At least one draft specialist, ESPN.com's Chad Ford, thinks Elijah Millsap should "run back to school," but indications are that Millsap has generated serious interest from multiple NBA teams.
And Paul Millsap? While he didn't say anything directly to Elijah Millsap, his stance is clear. By returning for a final collegiate season, Paul Millsap said after the Jazz's shootaround in advance of Friday night's Game 6 of the first-round playoff series with the Denver Nuggets, "You risk injury, and you risk not doing as well as you think you should. So, if it was me, I would try it."
Actually, he did.
Paul Millsap left Louisiana Tech after three seasons, didn't get drafted until Utah took him in the second round and — four years later — is at the tail end of the first season of a four-year, $32 million contract with the Jazz.
So even if Elijah Millsap were to be taken in the second round, or not get drafted at all, Paul Millsap figures he has a shot.
"I know he can make a team, with the abilities he has," he said.
To make his case, Paul Millsap points to a Jazz team that starts undrafted Wesley Matthews at shooting guard, has only one first-rounder (point guard Deron Williams) in its opening lineup and counts only three first-rounders (Williams, Kosta Koufos and Andrei Kirilenko) among the 13 players on its roster.
"It don't really matter," Paul Millsap said. "As you can see."
NO NENE: The Nuggets played Friday without usual starting center Nene, who sprained his left knee in Wednesday night's Game 5 and did not make the trip to Utah.
"It's unfortunate for him," said Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer, who when not matched against Kenyon Martin has been dealing with the big Brazilian for much of the series. "I feel bad for him."
With no Nene, Paris-born and Caribbean-raised Johan Petro — sporadically used during the regular season — started in the middle for Denver.
NO SURPRISE: Boozer wasn't at all surprised to see San Antonio upset Dallas in their first-round series, mostly because he doesn't consider the Spurs a No. 7 seed.
"Not their team," he said. "I mean, their record, obviously — but their team, they're much better than that."
HE SAID IT: Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko, when it was pointed out Friday he was perfect from the field in Wednesday's Game 5: "One-for-one, yeah. Sometimes I do even better. Zero-for-zero."
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