SALT LAKE CITY -- Paul Millsap, elder statesman.
To the Utah Jazz forward, that's got an odd ring to it.
Although there are older players on the roster, nobody has more experience with the Jazz than Millsap, 27, who is beginning his seventh season with the team.
"That's kind of weird, isn't it," Millsap said Monday afternoon. "That's the life, that's the life we chose."
Millsap, a second-round draft pick in 2006, is the only player remaining from Jazz team that advanced to the 2007 Western Conference finals. For that matter, he's the only man left from the gritty group that surprised Denver in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs.
Gone are the likes of Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur and C.J. Miles. Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson, too.
Once the Jazz let Miles leave for Cleveland via free agency this summer, Millsap became the only holdover.
Millsap and his teammates met the media at the Zions Bank Basketball Center on Monday. Today, they'll begin training camp in preparation for the 2012-13 season, which gets underway with an Oct. 31 home game vs. the Dallas Mavericks.
Utah's first preseason game is Oct. 8 at Golden State.
Never one to seek the spotlight, Millsap said he is resistant to declaring himself a team leader simply because he's been on the roster the longest. Instead, he'd rather let his game do the talking.
"I'm good, I don't want to accept that pressure," he said. "I'll just continue to go out there and so what I do."
Dating back to February 2010, when Sloan resigned and Williams was traded, the Jazz have undergone quite a transformation. The roster says it's a different team team CEO Greg Miller said the franchise's roots run deep even if there are a few new leafs on the tree.
"It's something as a family and an organization we take a lot of pride in, those traditions and the culture we've been able to establish since the early 80s," said Miller, son of late team owner Larry H. Miller. "As long as I'm in a position where I can influence it, I intend to just continue those traditions."
One Jazz tradition has been to place value in the second round of the draft, which brought them the likes of Bryon Russell, Shandon Anderson, Millsap and Mo Williams.
Mo Williams, taken with the No. 47 pick of the 2003 draft, returned to the Jazz this summer. He'll join Marvin Williams and Randy Foye as key newcomers to the team.
Millsap, the No. 47 overall pick in 2006, said he is happy with the new acquisitions.
"This franchise is headed in the right direction with the moves they made, with the guys they've got coming in," he said. "We're in the right direction."
Millsap started 62 of 66 regular-season games and all four playoff losses to San Antonio last season. However, the 6-foot-8 power forward lost some playing time to 6-10 Derrick Favors.
Favors saw time at both the center and power forward position. He averaged 11.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots in the playoffs last season. He is expected to have an increased role this season.
Millsap, Favors, Al Jefferson and second-year man Enes Kanter give the Jazz plenty of options under the basket.
"Give me one team that wouldn't like that problem," he said. "We're blessed to have a lot of bigs on our team. You never know what can happen."