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Utah Jazz found a hidden gem by drafting Paul Millsap
NBA » Work ethic helped former Louisiana Tech forward rise from an afterthought to Atlanta All-Star.

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Surprisingly, he had an immediate impact in Utah.

Millsap joined Sloan’s big-man rotation that also included Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Jarron Collins.

At a glance

Jazz vs. Hawks

At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff » 7 p.m.

TV » ROOT Sports

Radio » 1280 AM, 1600 AM, 97.5-AM

Records » Jazz 21-41, Hawks 26-35

Season series » Hawks, 1-0

Last meeting » Hawks, 118-85 (Dec. 20)

About the Jazz » This is their first home game since Feb. 25. ... They come off a 1-5 road trip, which they capped with Saturday’s 104-92 win at Philadelphia. ... G/F Gordon Hayward averages 16.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists. ... The next nine games are against playoff teams or teams currently sitting ninth in their conferences.

About the Hawks » They have lost 14 of their last 15 games since Feb. 4, including six straight. ... They come off a 109-108 loss to the Clippers on Saturday night. ... G/F Kyle Korver had his NBA-record for consecutive games with a three-pointer snapped at 127 in Wednesday’s 102-78 loss at Portland. ... Korver is 4-for-8 on threes in the last two games.

Paul Millsap time line

Feb. 10, 1985 » Born in Monroe, La.

April 2, 2002 » Named high’s school’s Mr. Basketball in the state of Louisiana

June 28, 2006 » Selected in the second round (No. 47 overall) of the NBA draft by the Utah Jazz

Dec. 26, 2008 » After playing in 194 straight games, misses a game against Dallas because of a knee injury

July 10, 2009 » Signs an offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers

July 17, 2009 » Signs a four-year, $32 million contract with the Jazz

Nov. 10, 2010 » Scores a career-high 46 points in a 116-114 overtime win over Miami.

Oct. 1, 2011 » Inducted into the Louisiana Tech Athletic Hall of Fame

July 10, 2013 » Signs a two-year, $19 million contract with the Atlanta Hawks

Feb. 16, 2014 » Makes first appearance in the NBA All-Star Game

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He ended up being one of only nine rookies in Jazz history to play all 82 games — a list that includes John Stockton.

In his first year, Millsap averaged 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds. He blocked more shots (74) than any Jazz rookie except Mark Eaton, Andrei Kirilenko and Thurl Bailey.

Millsap quickly became one of Utah’s most popular players.

"I loved Paul Millsap," said Jazz superfan John Sudbury, a season-ticket holder since the franchise moved from New Orleans. "He was an overachiever. ... He came in, proved everybody wrong and always gave 110 [percent]."

In his seven years with the Jazz, Millsap missed 16 games.

"He reminded me of Joe D’Maggio, when people asked him why he played every day," Sudbury said. "Joe told them, ‘They pay to watch me, so I’m going to give them my best effort.’ Paul was a throw-back in that respect."

Before signing with Atlanta, Millsap finished sixth on the Jazz’s all-time list in blocked shots (521), eighth in rebounding (3,792), eighth in steals (604) and 10th in games played (540).

"One thing about him, he wasn’t afraid to work," said Sloan. "His work ethic probably helped him more than anything. ... He did it the old-fashion way."

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Said O’Connor: "He’s a Jerry Sloan kind of guy. Paul doesn’t talk much. He just plays."

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