Utah Jazz 2014-15 Player Review: Elijah Millsap


Apr 11, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Utah Jazz guard Elijah Millsap (13) slips as he dribbles the ball while Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) defends during the first quarter of the game at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back on the Utah Jazz 2014-15 season that was. 22 players logged minutes, some stepped forward, others back. Some were called up from the ether, others packed bags for alternate destinations. 

Elijah Millsap

One of seven NBA rookies who played, and ten NBA D-league players called up for a 10-day contract by Jazz brass, the younger brother of Paul Millsap found himself one of three Jazz players retained for a second, then signed to a partially guaranteed or unguaranteed multi-year deal in Utah.

Elijah Millsap was an all-around utility player for the Bakersfield Jam, catching the eye Utah Jazz director of player personnel, Dave Fredman. He averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals per game, logging a triple-double shortly before packing a bag for the NBA and Utah.

This wouldn’t be the role he’d find himself in for first-year head coach Quin Snyder, however.

2014-15 Season Stats

19.7 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 34% FGs, 31% 3FGs, ORtg 101.0, DRtg 95.4


Snyder and the Jazz needed a three-and-D guy on the wing, that is, a good three-point shooter who can also defend with ferocity. The NBA is loaded with deadly wing players who can take over a game at any time, putting it out of reach with a burst.

Utah was -1.6 in efficiency differential in 2013-14 at the shooting guard position and -1.0 at the small forward position. This was a hole clearly in need of plugging this year, and Elijah Millsap played a large part in shoring up the perimeter defense for the Jazz.

He was so good at getting up into offensive players’ jerseys that Quin Snyder found he could use the stocky 6’6″ wing to cut off speedy opposing point guards as well, thereby controlling the game from a defensive standpoint by mucking up the offensive game plans of coaches on the opposite bench.

Millsap also proved to be a good rebounder for his size — of course, he’s a Millsap after all — and capable passer.


Utah is a place Elijah enjoys, I’m told by his uncle. Eli is comfortable in the community and with the Jazz franchise family. There’s every reason to expect him back for the full season

Elijah Millsap hit only 31% of his three-point field goals in the 924 minutes played this season, barely enough to hold the interest of opposing defenses when he spotted up. This proved to be a problem for Utah’s second unit for much of the season, clogging up Snyder’s offensive system when the bench unit was in play.

Overall offense proved to be problematic for him, Millsap struggling to find ways to score among the best in the world in the game after finding his way to the rim readily in the D-League. Often, he’d slash to the paint only to end up tossing up a lame duck in traffic.

Turnovers were also a sore spot in his game as a rookie, Millsap losing the ball nearly one in every five of the times he touched it. That 19.5% turnovers rate will need to come down if he’s to stick in Utah or the NBA as a rotation player and not just an occasional injury call-up.

Overall, Elijah Millsap had a very nice season after spending several years overseas trying to play his way up the basketball ladder. It was good enough on defense that he can fill a specific role in the Jazz rotation.

And he can score a bit once he gets his rhythm, scoring in double digits three times in five games in the closing weeks in games in which he played at least 17 minutes.

Plays like this, in his first NBA game, quickly made Elijah Millsap a Jazz fan favorite.

There’s a good possibility we’ll see Millsap spend some time playing for the Jazz in summer league this July, and provided he works on his handles and finds ways to contribute more on offense, he should stick next season.

Utah is a place Elijah enjoys, I’m told by his uncle. The Millsaps are very familiar with the area due to the years spent here by older brother Paul, and Eli is comfortable in the community and with the Jazz franchise family. There’s every reason to expect him back for the full season next.

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