Originally written on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Ac

Not only has Al Harrington come off the bench to provide the Nuggets with an offensive boost this season, but he’s played some surprisingly solid defense as well.  I’ve never thought of Al Harrington as a guy who really gets after it at the defensive end, but I’ve noticed that he’s been aggressive in trying to force turnovers this season (averaging a career-high 1.5 steals thus far), and he’s also been playing good, fundamentally-sound man-to-man defense on some pretty tough post players.  After the Nuggets beat the Bucks I remember pointing out his defense on Andrew Bogut that helped the Nuggets win by going small, and last night he made Paul Millsap take some really tough shots down the stretch.  Unfortunately for him, Millsap made those tough shots.

Paul Millsap scored 16 of his 26 in the fourth quarter as the Jazz beat the Nuggets 106-96, driving them ahead of both the Nuggets and the Lakers in the Western Conference standings.  With the game far from over, Millsap poured in 14 consecutive points between the ten and five minute marks, taking it from a two-point nailbiter to a ten-point cruisecontroller.  In the video below you can watch him drop a tough hook and a contested jumper in the grill of the aforementioned Al Harrington, who, like I said, did everything he could.  The fourth quarter starts at 1:45…

As you can see, he stuck some pretty tough looks from about 15 feet.  I imagine that this will strike some people as a surprise because Millsap came into the league as a scrapper.  However, as he’s proven to be a steal of a second round pick since day one, he’s turned himself into so much more than a hard-working rebounder.  This guy is proving to be a player who can flat out get buckets, with a tendency to do so in key situations.  Last night’s 16-point explosion against Denver was nothing new.  Just days ago he came up huge in that tough overtime loss to the Lakers, and he showed the Miami Heat what he’s all about last season.  He’s got his season average up to 15 PPG with 29, 18, and 26 over the last three.

Millsap is one of the league’s tougher players to rank.  That’s partly because power forward is such a deep position, but also because of these offensive outbursts that Millsap has.  Based on that fourth quarter last night you’d think he was a number-one scoring option… but I wouldn’t say he is.  That being said, there’s got to be some value in his ability to adapt to different situations.  Millsap has performed off the bench, in the starting lineup, and next to different players.  I think it’s safe to say the Jazz are happy they chose him over Carlos Boozer, and at age 26 he’s probably still got his best years in front of him.  He shares his touches with a great teammate, Al Jefferson, another excellent big man who possesses some of the league’s finest post moves, but don’t get it twisted; Paul Millsap is in the second tier of PFs.  You’ve got the proven number-one option type guys like Dirk Nowitzki (who is really on a level of his own as he’s the only elite player of the bunch), Chris Bosh (not anymore, but think back to Toronto), and Amare (again, think back to Phoenix) along with the young beasts, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin, but after that it’s got to be Paul Millsap… and the thing about him, as I stated earlier, is that he’s a guy who can adapt to any situation.  His ability to perform next to Al Jefferson is a big reason why the Jazz are one of the league’s most surprising teams right now.  Throw in his clutch tendencies and you’ve got a 15-point scorer who’s impact feels more like that of a 20-point scorer.  And yes, I left Pau Gasol out on purpose.  He’s been playing like a chump since last season. 

My point?  don’t sleep on Paul Millsap, the 47th overall pick in ’06 draft who was passed on by every single team in the league.  The power forward position is very strong, and this man is one of the better ones.  So, if you’ve been napping, wake up!  …or Paul Millsap will wake you up.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Gregg Marshall's show canceled, Bama speculation grows

Report: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Byron Scott: Opposing players say they want to play for Lakers

Falcons reportedly will lose pick over pumping in crowd noise

Report: Sam Bradford wouldn't sign extension with Browns

Jimbo Fisher: Winston is victim of ‘character assassination’

Joe Namath parties with twin 100 year-old women

WATCH: Mike Napoli hits home run as bat shatters

WATCH: Marc Gasol misses shot, rips jersey in disgust

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

John Calipari addresses controversial ND comments

Arizona coach Sean Miller rips critics: 'Go cheer for ASU'

Report: NFL could push extra point back to 15-yard line

Urban Meyer: 'No issue' with Braxton Miller's Instagram post

Tiger Woods drops out of top 100 for first time in 19 years

Top 10 stories from NCAA Tourney's second weekend

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.