Utah Jazz: Boos for Paul Millsap? Ex-Jazzman's preparing for worst in Utah return

Published: Sunday, March 9 2014 8:40 p.m. MDT

In a way, Millsap and Sloan seemed to be paired perfectly because of their no-nonsense, lunch-pail-sporting, overachieving ways.

“I loved his style of play. He wanted us to be aggressive. He wanted us to work hard every time we were on the court whether that was practice or games,” Millsap said of Sloan. “A lot of that I took with me. I learned a lot from him. I’m very blessed that I was able to have him as a coach.”

Millsap was asked about the style of coaching his most recent Jazz coach, Tyrone Corbin, uses compared to Sloan. The power forward played under Sloan from 2006-11, proving valuable as Carlos Boozer's backup and as a starter. He played for Corbin, who'd previously worked with him as an assistant, for the next two seasons.

“It’s kind of similar, but Ty’s still finding his way. He wants to have his own niche,” Millsap said. “He doesn’t want to be a copycat. He’s still trying to find his way of coaching, his style of coaching, and eventually he will because he’s a smart guy.”

While he’s appreciative of what he learned while in Utah, Millsap’s mentorship in the Jazz locker room continues to be felt.

Favors became his teammate after being traded for Deron Williams in February 2011, and he was impressed by Millsap’s work ethic. Favors said that remained constant whether Millsap was playing well or struggling.

“He was always the same,” Favors said. “Always.”

Though Millsap all but knew he was helping to train his replacement, Favors said the relationship never became awkward between them.

“It was pretty smooth both ways. We were both good friends,” Favors said. “He helped me out any way he can. I appreciated that even in practice we both tried to make each other better. There was no hard feelings.”

Just hard competition between Millsap, Jefferson, Favors and Kanter.

“I think they looked at us like the little brothers,” Favors said. “Just come in and just try to beat us up in practice and just teach us things here and there.”

Favors smiled and said the media will make a bigger fuss about the return of former Jazz guys Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll more than he will.

“Most of the time, I hate playing against old teammates,” Favors admitted. “They know all the plays. They know all your tendencies and all that stuff, so it makes for a tougher game.”

Millsap scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Hawks’ 118-85 walloping of the Jazz on Dec. 20 in Atlanta, the biggest loss of this season for Utah.

“Paul was very collected. You would have never guessed that he had played there,” now-injured Hawks center Al Horford said at the time. “He looked normal. It was just another game for him.”

Monday's matchup will certainly feel different for Millsap, regardless if he’s booed or cheered by his old fans in Utah.

“It will be interesting to see when we go to Utah. Maybe he will get a little (emotional),” Horford said. “He’s one of those guys you can never tell, because he’s got the same face and the same focus.”

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