Atlanta Hawks Player Review: Paul Millsap

 

Paul Millsap throwing it down against Milwaukee

Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap had an outstanding season in his third year with the Hawks. Millsap, an All Star for the third consecutive year, played and started in all but one game this season and averaged (17.1) points per game,  (9.0) rebounds, (3.3) assists, (1.8) steals, and (1.7) blocks per game while shooting 47% from the field this season. Millsap was the Hawks’ leader and best player, earning him the nickname “The Anchorman”.

 While Millsap was a stud on every part of the floor, he was the only player in the NBA to lead his team in points, rebounds, steals ,and blocks during the regular season, but it was his defense that made him the superstar we’ve seen in Atlanta. To start, Millsap was the only player in the NBA to rank in the top ten in blocks (5th) and steals (9th). In addition, Millsap was the only power forward in the top-15 in steals, and the only player listed under than 6’10” listed in the Top 10 for blocks. 

Millsap dominating Game 4 vs the Boston Celtics in the NBA Playoffs

In terms of Millsap’s defensive prowess, that does not tell the whole story. When you look at the advanced statistics, Paul ranked higher on those lists than many would expect. Millsap had the league’s fourth best defensive rating (96.1), tenth best Plus/Minus ratio (5.3) and third highest Defensive Box/Minus (4.2). The Anchorman was also top ten in Value Over Replacement (4.9), and led the entire league in Defensive Win Shares (6). 
Millsap’s best game of the season came in Game 4  First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs against  the Boston Celtics. Millsap posted (45) points, (13) rebounds, (3) assists, (4) blocks and two steals in one of the best individual playoff performances in recent memory. That game ranked third in Atlanta history in terms of highest scoring total in a playoff game, trailing only two of Dominique Wilkins’ epic performances.
 

Millsap during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round

His performance was also the first time an Atlanta Hawks player posted had 40 or more points in a game since Joe Johnson in 2009. Johnson scored 40 a few times during his Hawks tenure; besides Joe, the other 40+ point games by a Hawk came from Stephen Jackson in 2004. Jason Terry and Shareef-Abdur Rahim are the only other Hawks to have 40 point games since 2000. 

Most fans around the league wouldn’t consider Paul Millsap as a superstar; however, making the NBA’s 2nd Team All-Defense only verified Millsap’s presence as one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Maybe Paul will take over Joe Johnson’s title of “League’s Quietest Superstar”, although you don’t hear his name mentioned among the best power forwards in the league, he is one of the top tier forwards in the NBA. 

Justin Hodges–@justin_hodges22

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