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Yahoo analyzes Utah Jazz's 'big' lineup of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors

Published: Wednesday, April 25 2012 6:01 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz players Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap is photographed during media day at the Zions Bank basketball center in Salt Lake City Friday, Dec. 9, 2011.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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Our take: We've heard talk of Paul Millsap sliding to the small forward position for months, but it didn't become a reality until injuries to C.J. Miles and Josh Howard forced coach Ty Corbin's hand. The big lineup has been a revelation late in the regular season, as opponents have struggled to match up with the size of Millsap, Derrick Favors at power forward and Al Jefferson at center. Yahoo's Dan Devine explores the effectiveness of the threesome:

While a Jefferson-Favors-Millsap front line seems awkward on paper, as each member occupies sort of a tweener space rather than slotting in obviously and naturally in a traditional three-four-five alignment, you can certainly argue that their success does make at least some sense. As we've seen throughout the season, Jefferson and Millsap have developed into a sharp, multifaceted offensive tandem, complementing one another well in their inversion of the traditional center-forward paradigm.

Millsap has more frequently moved closer to the basket this season, averaging fewer attempts per game between 16 and 23 feet out and more from within nine feet of the rim, according to Hoopdata's shot location stats, which has created more space for Big Al to do his damage out on the wing — Utah's center has taken 425 shots from mid-range, according to NBA.com, compared to 322 in the restricted area and 292 from other spots in the paint. That they're both also comfortable and adept enough switching it up makes Utah's post game more versatile; with the offense running through them, Favors is free to set screens for Jazz guards, crash the offensive glass, pick up the pieces on broken plays and benefit from dump-offs resulting from penetration, as he did on Tuesday night at Lopez's expense. They can create space and opportunities for one another to thrive on offense within their respective comfort zones, which can make for some nightmarish covers for opposing defenses.

Read the full article: Does Utah's "big lineup" make them dangerous in the NBA playoffs?

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