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Former All-Star Paul Millsap has good attitude despite limited minutes with Nets

Paul Millsap of the Nets dribbles the ball

Paul Millsap of the Nets dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Credit: Errol Anderson

NEW ORLEANS — Paul Millsap, playing his 16th NBA season, is a four-time All-Star and a former all-defensive team selection. But now he is fighting for playing time off the bench with the Nets. The 36-year-old is averaging just 11.2 minutes per game and has reached double digits minutes just six times in 11 appearances.

"Right now, we’ve got a lot of centers, a lot of bigs," coach Steve Nash said before the Nets faced the Pelicans Friday night at Smoothie King Center. "So it’s a lot of guys that are very similar in ability, and he’s getting the lesser of the minutes. I feel for him, but I trust him and I know he can help us. He’ll get opportunities. It’s one of those tough ones where I like when he plays and I’d like to play him more, but who’s not playing then?"

Millsap has been nothing if not a good soldier. In his limited playing time, he is averaging 3.1 points and 3.5 rebounds, but his shooting has dropped to 35.5% because he has yet to find his rhythm.

"It’s tough," Millsap admitted. "You go in the game and you’ve got five minutes to contribute, but you do the best that you can. Whatever time I’m given, I try to put my skill set to use within that time frame. Hopefully, our team goes up or makes a run within that time. But when I’m not on the court, I continue to support the other guys and help them as much as possible."

Claxton not close to returning

Nic Claxton missed his ninth straight game while recovering from what has been described as a non-COVID illness. Asked if Claxton might play Sunday in Oklahoma City, Nash said, "I don’t think so. In fact, this next week is a big question, too. He’s got a ways to ramp up. He had a half-speed workout [Thursday], so he’s got some ground to make up."

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