Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

You're welcome, NBA: 5 former Jazzmen thriving with new teams (5 items)

By Jared Bray

March 27, 2014

The Utah Jazz said goodbye to five members last summer who are now thriving outside the Beehive State — Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Mo Williams and Jeff Hornacek. You’re welcome, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers. Here’s a quick look at how each of those former Jazzmen are doing with their new teams.

1 of 5. Al Jefferson

There are only five 20-10 guys in the league this year, and Big Al is one of them, averaging 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game during his first year in Charlotte. He's even getting MVP buzz.

As the Bobcats' go-to guy, Jefferson, who was recently featured in Sports Illustrated, may lead the club to its first playoff appearance since 2009-10, when it was swept by the Orlando Magic in the first round. The Bobcats are currently sitting in the Eastern Conference’s No. 7 spot with a 34-37 record.

2 of 5. Paul Millsap

The Hawks looked doomed when center Al Horford went down with a torn pectoral muscle earlier this year, but thanks to Millsap, the Hawks have been able to remain in playoff contention.

The longtime forward out of Louisiana Tech is being featured with a larger-than-life 3-D billboard in Atlanta.

Millsap, who became an All-Star for the first time in his seven year career this year, is averaging 17.9 points on 46 percent shooting — including 36.8 from behind the arc.

He’s also collecting 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks for the Hawks, who currently possess the final seed in the Eastern Conference.

3 of 5. DeMarre Carroll

While Millsap has been the main man in Atlanta, Carroll has been a reliable contributor.

As the team’s starting three, Carroll has upped his averages from 6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game last season to 11.1 and 5.5 this year. As a 3-and-D specialist, Carroll has also raised his 3-point shooting percentage from 28.6 to 37.4 since he left Utah.

4 of 5. Mo Williams

His numbers are down — 9.6 points and 4.4 assists per game — but the work of Williams has been integral to Portland’s success. The Blazers are a solid 45-26 and currently sit in the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings.

5 of 5. Jeff Hornacek

It’s no secret: Hornacek has completely rejuvenated the Suns. After winning just 25 games last year, Phoenix was supposed to be bad again this season (and maybe even worse).

But Horny’s squad — which has had to rely heavily on the Morris twins as well as Indiana castoffs Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee — has collected a 43-29 record and currently has control of the eighth playoff position in the Western Conference.

Many media outlets are wondering if he's a shoo-in for Coach of the Year.

1. Old Ricks Coach
Rexburg, ID,
March 27, 2014

Very upset that we lost Milsap, Jefferson and Carroll. What has been gained with Kantor, Favors and Hayward? No chance for a playoff spot now or in the forseeable future, that's what. So many wanted players to be gone last year. Now the same people want this year's players to leave. Should have been happy to keep the above mentioned players.

2. Cougar11
Highland, UT,
March 27, 2014

I'm all in for the youth movement. Not a fan of the 7th and 8th spot every year. I would rather have a couple of bad seasons and start over than live through another mediocre 8 seed season. Love the young guys and with a couple of pieces and more experience this will be a good basketball team. Go Jazz

3. jamsenior
March 27, 2014

The Jazz should have kept Milsap for veteran leadership alone much lest everything he brings in his game! Every year he has improved his game. The Jazz have no consistent leadership!!

4. Uncle Rico
Provo, UT,
March 27, 2014

Millsap and Jefferson will not lead their team to a playoff series win in an easy Eastern Conference. Definitely never would have done it in the west.