The unflappable Millsap brushes off doubters and unfavorable circumstances like he does teasing teammates.
The 25-year-old has been working way too hard for way too long to let any of that get in his way of making the most out of his situations.
"This season was what I've been waiting for. It's what I've been waiting for all my life," Millsap said. "Four years playing under Carlos, I finally got the opportunity to go out there and showcase my skills to the fullest. My thing (this season) was just come out and try to prove that I'm worthy to play that position."
Has he ever.
Two weeks into the 2010-11 season, Millsap has worked his way up the NBA leaderboards in multiple statistical categories. He is eighth in scoring (23.9 ppg), sixth in field-goal shooting (.614 percentage) and 11th in rebounding (10.1 rpg). His play is reminiscent to how he strung together a league-best 19-straight double-doubles in Boozer's absence two seasons ago.
Millsap is also shooting an NBA-best 100 percent from behind the 3-point line this year. Just ask LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh about that.
Like everything else that's been refined in his game, Millsap has put time in the gym on improving that shot. He worked on his outside game — and mid-range shots — in the summer. He occasionally wins 3-pointer contests with teammates. And he spends time with assistant coaches to fine-tune his long-distance stroke.
All of which does not come as good news for opponents who are already well aware of his crafty and powerful inside presence in rebounding and scoring.
Ask the Thunder, who witnessed Millsap go off for 30 points on 12-for-19 shooting and grab 16 rebounds in Utah's 120-99 Halloween win in Oklahoma City.
"Millsap shooting the ball like that and causing havoc on the boards is tough to guard," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
But fun to have on your team, especially for a hard-nosed guy who loves blue-collar players who like working as much as they enjoy playing. In that regard, Sloan and Millsap are the perfect player-coach pairing. They go together like a lunch pail and overalls.
"He works on every aspect of the game all of the time. That gives you a chance to get better," Sloan said, reminiscent of things he used to say about Malone. "He's a no-nonsense guy when he plays. He's a wonderful guy to coach."
Sloan poured more praise on Millsap's work ethic, crediting that for helping him improve his shot. That means, especially in the aftermath of his recent 3-for-3 night on 3s, that Millsap now has the green light from long range, right?
"He will from now on," Sloan said, smiling.
Sloan also likes that Millsap is an excellent passer, another attribute that's become better over the years. The power forward is third on the team in assists with three a game.
"He's grown a lot with his game, because he worked hard. He's one of those guys," Sloan said. "He's a terrific worker, comes and does his job and wants to get better. It's amazing how that works."
Sloan respects how Millsap worked his way up the ladder after being drafted so low as well. So, too, does Williams, who remembers seeing the Louisiana Tech player's name atop the college rebounding leader list but knew nothing else about him five years ago.
"He came into this league unknown," Williams said. "I had no clue who he was."
That's something Heat fans might have been saying Tuesday, but anybody who follows the NBA or SportsCenter now is very familiar with Millsap after the highlight star scored more points than any Jazz player since Malone's 56-point outburst against Golden State on April 7, 1998.
Williams said Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor clued him in on Millsap after the Jazz picked him up as a steal of a deal in the second round.
"When he got here, Kevin said I'm going to like him a lot, and he was right," Williams said. "He's gotten better every year."
And the Jazz have gotten a pretty dang good bang for their buck.
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