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Paul Millsap NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
February 16, 2006
Strengths
Bruising big man who is on track to led the NCAA in rebounding for a record third time consecutively.

Millsap has an NBA body minus an inch or two, an excellent frame and some of the longest arms in the NCAA relative to his height. He has decent quickness, good leaping ability and excellent strength; especially in the lower body. Heís also highly coordinated and possesses a very wide base and low center of gravity which allows him to control his body with ease.

Millsapís biggest virtue as far as the NBA is concerned is easily his rebounding ability. He has suction cups for hands and is aided greatly by his outstanding motor and terrific reach. Like all great rebounders, he not only has excellent technique boxing out and the physical gifts needed to make his presence felt on the glass, but also combines that with outstanding anticipation skills to help him predict where a missed shot will end up and get there before his opponent is able to react. Millsap will clean up any missed shot in his area with ease, but will also go well out of his area to come up with rebounds. He is extremely active and absolutely relentless when he sets his eyes on the target. Seeing him coming up with a rebound after his 2nd or 3rd bounce after a tip or the ensuing scramble is something you get used to quickly when watching him play. He just refuses to give up on any play.

Offensively, Millsap is able to do a lot of damage at the mid-major level thanks to his bulk, athleticism, tenacious attitude and the way he runs the floor. He wanted to be the man in college (the reason he plays for Louisiana Tech) and that is exactly what he is, to the tune of over 20 points a game. He relishes contact and will finish in the toughest of situations even when being fiercely contested. Defenders at the mid-major level just seem to bounce off of him, and itís not even clear that Millsap notices them.

He uses his body extremely well to establish position deep inside the paint and then seal off his man. Once he has him pinned he will extend and outstretch one of his super long arms to make tough catches and then finish strong at the basket. He watches the trajectory of the ball much like a wide receiver would in football, anticipating the lob, following it with his eyes and adjusting accordingly, corralling it with his extremely soft hands and then finishing with aggression.

Millsap has a fairly soft touch around the basket and knows how to use the glass, even though he clearly prefers to make a statement by throwing down powerful dunks. He can finish with the jump-hook or baby hook shot in and around the paint area, and shoots a very high percentage from the field at 57%.

That is mostly the extent of his offensive game at this point except for some basic spin-moves and a nice baseline jump-shot he will show on occasion, but not nearly enough. He gets his points quietly, within the flow of the offense and doesnít show anything close to a superstar attitude when heís not getting enough touches.

Defensively, Millsap blocks a decent amount of shots thanks to his wingspan and leaping ability, but not quite enough (2.2 a game) to make us think that this will completely translate over to the NBA considering his height.

Donít expect anything flashy out of him, heís a lunch pail type who will get the job done and go home without making much noise.

Weaknesses
Measurements will be key. Millsap is listed at 6-8, but itís always hard to tell exactly with players of his size and bulk just by eyeballing them. Anything less than 6-8 (despite his tremendous wingspan) could cause his stock to drop.

Millsap has one position and one position only at the NBA level: power forward. He is too wide and not skilled or athletic enough to consider making him a 3, and is a couple of inches too short to keep him at the center position which he currently occupies.

Heís clearly uncomfortable operating outside of 12 feet, possessing very basic ball-handling skills and not enough range on his jump shot, at least not on a consistent basis.

Millsap hasnít really been challenged to improve his offensive skill level in college because of the competition heís gone up against. He can bully his man in the paint and get 2 points almost whenever he pleases, so there is no reason for him or his coach to make things more difficult on him. His footwork is therefore not nearly as polished as many recent undersized, but highly talented big men we recall coming out of college such as Sean May or Ike Diogu, and therefore questions will linger about how much of his offense will translate over to the NBA game. He is athletic, but not an explosive freak, so there aren't many outs there either. Millsap has worked hard to expand his range and has even hit a couple of 3-pointers this year (4-12 in 25 games at the time of this report), but still has plenty of work ahead of him in this area to expand his expand his offensive game.

On the other end of the floor, Millsap definitely is not an amazing man to man defender. His lateral quickness is just decent guarding big men on the perimeter, and he has a tendency to take possessions off as many players in his situation in college are forced to do because of the way their team relies on them on the other end of the floor. When he is playing with full intensity on this end he has a tendency to pick up cheap fouls, which is a clear recipe for disaster for Louisiana Tech if he has to sit out more than 5 minutes at a time. Like many good shot-blockers, Millsap has issues at times with trying to block every shot that comes his way and therefore being vulnerable to pump-fakes, head fakes and exposing his team on the glass once he bites.

Heís isnít a very good free throw shooter, and has not improved on this part of his game in his three years in college. He shot 64% as a freshman, 60% as a sophomore, and 61.3% as a junior at the time of this report.

Competition
Millsap plays in the WAC conference, widely regarded as one of the top mid-major leagues in the country. This year the conference is as strong as ever, with 6 teams vying for the top spot and a place in the NCAA tournament and a couple of decent big-men to pit Millsap up against. Nevada is clearly the most talented team to be found here, but Utah State, Hawaii, New Mexico State and Fresno State all also have legit talent on their team. Louisiana Tech led the conference for much of the season but recently relinquished the top spot back to Nevada by being swept by them at home and on the road.

Millsap has been one of the most consistent players in the NCAA since he first stepped out on the court as a freshman. He announced his presence immediately to the country by averaging nearly 16 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in his first season, beating out Emeka Okafor for the title of top rebounder in the country. He repeated that feat as a sophomore in 2004-05, pulling down 12.4 rebounds per game and upping his scoring to 20.4 points. Millsap has remained consistent as a junior, with nearly identical scoring numbers and a whopping 13.2 rebounds , despite playing 3 minutes less per game. His season high came in February against San Jose State, where he gobbled up an amazing 28 rebounds in just 31 minutes of action. Heís on track to be the first player in NCAA history to lead the country in rebounding for three consecutive seasons.

Coming out of high school, Millsap narrowed down his college choices to Arizona, Georgia (then an SEC powerhouse), and Louisiana Tech. He eventually chose the Bulldogs because he wanted to be the man and right away, their campus is right in his backyard, and a family member of his was already on the coaching staff.

Outlook
Millsap has already publicly announced that he will be entering the draft this year, and it would not be a surprise to see him stay in since heís basically done everything he can at the collegiate level except for lead his team deep into the NCAA tournament. With the personnel around him, that does not appear to be a realistic goal.

His stock will fluctuate greatly depending on how he finishes up the season at La Tech, whether he can help them get the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, how he measures out in Orlando and how well he performs in private workouts. His upside is not off the charts, but itís very obvious that Millsap is going to be a rebounding force no matter where he ends up, which is something that has to be attractive to NBA teams.


Facts
WAC Freshman of the Year.

Preseason and midseason Wooden Award candidate.


-Profile photo taken by Liz Margerum, Reno Gazette Journal.

 


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