Paul Millsap played with Carlos Boozer. He admired Carlos Boozer. He seems to have some mixed feelings about playing against Carlos Boozer tonight when the Jazz and Boozer's Chicago Bulls at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Boozer's six years in Utah were marked by a return to the Western Conference Finals for the Jazz, but endured a complicated relationship with fans who questioned his passion. The Tribune's Steve Luhm has a good story in today's paper assessing both Boozer's time here and looking at the season he's having for the Bulls. Kurt Kragthorpe, meanwhile, says Jazz fans should let Boozer off the hook for missing one-third of his games while with the Jazz.
Millsap agreed with that sentiment, calling criticisms of Boozer "unfair."
"I think it was," he said. "But that's the life we live. We know that as soon as we got drafted into the NBA that type of pressure is going to be upon us. It is unfair, a lot of people don't really know who he is. He's actually a great guy."
Following the Jazz's morning shoot around at EnergySolutions Arena, Millsap was peppered by questions about his former mentor. What did he learn most from the veteran? "Before the game, he's mentally focused, he gets in his own little world. So I learned that from him." Has Boozer's game changed?
"Not at all. He's kept the same moves, the same thing, but they're so effective. They're kind of hard to stop."
Jazz center Al Jefferson called Boozer a "very smart player. He knows how to seal you deep in the paint, he gets easy shots, he's got that fadeaway that's automatic."