Millsap out to show Sixers he can play

Posted: July 19, 2014

LAS VEGAS - Elijah Millsap may be running out of chances to make it in the NBA.

76ers assistant Chad Iske gave the 26-year-old guard some advice last week at the team's NBA Summer League minicamp.

"Everybody kind of starts to write you off because they think they know your game, and all these new crop of guys come in every year," Iske, who coaches the Sixers' summer-league team, said he told Millsap. "The unknown is more attractive than the known.

"I said what he really needs to do is prove every night that he's way better than these other guys that they are looking at."

Millsap was averaging 13 points, five rebounds, and three steals in a reserve role heading into the summer-league playoff matchup with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Bulls won, 79-68.

His best performance came in an 85-63 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in an opening-round game Wednesday. Millsap had 19 points and seven steals. He shot 5 for 7 from the field and made 9 of 12 foul shots.

"I will say that this has been my most focused [summer-league performance]," said Millsap, who previously played in Vegas with the Detroit Pistons (2010), Atlanta Hawks (2012), and Dallas Mavericks (2013). "I feel like this is my last opportunity to show guys that I can play.

"I got this call from the Sixers, and it was a blessing. It was the last minute."

The team reached out to the former Alabama-Birmingham standout after Pierre Jackson ruptured his right Achilles tendon in an Orlando Pro Summer League game July 5. It was Millsap's only invitation from an NBA team.

There was a belief that his window for NBA consideration had closed.

Millsap expected to have a pro career like his older brother Paul, an all-star power forward for the Hawks. The younger Millsap entered the 2010 draft after his junior season at UAB but was not selected. He signed a free-agent contract with Oklahoma City and was released 23 days later.

He joined the Lakers as a free agent in December 2011 but was waived after 13 days.

Millsap's professional career has consisted of stints in the NBA Development League and in Israel and the Philippines.

"I put too much pressure on myself," he said of his previous NBA tryouts. "People say, 'You go show these guys. You've got to shoot the ball. They don't think you can shoot the ball.' Now, you go 0 for 5. You stop doing what you are good at.

"Right now, I'm trying to focus on what I'm good at. I'm good at getting to the rim. I'm good at defending the basketball and getting out and running."


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