2017 Season Player Reviews: Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap went through a tumultuous year to say the least as his name surfaced twice in possible trade rumors. First, in the off-season as the Hawks made a final attempt to re-sign Al Horford and pair him with Dwight Howard. Second, the Hawks power forward was mentioned again around the Trade Deadline in February. However, Atlanta’s Head Coach and Former President of  Basketball Operations, Mike Budenholzer, assured that Millsap would remain in Atlanta for as long as the 11-year veteran desires.

Coach Bud stood firm on keeping Paul Millsap and the All Star Power Forward has expressed  has numerous time that he’s appreciative of the professionalism and honesty Budenholzer possessed. Considering his love for Atlanta, many expect that the Hawks are still the favorites in the Paul Millsap race and Hawks fans would love if he returned on a “hometown discount”. With two weeks remaining until the NBA Free Agency Period, we’ll monitor the Millsap situation.

Paul Millsap was without question, the best Atlanta Hawks player of the 2016-17 NBA season, earning an unprecedented fourth consecutive All-Star appearance and cementing his legacy as one of the best power forwards to play in a Hawks uniform. Although he was the Hawks best player this season, he suffered through a slump at times and battled injuries as well. Millsap missed 14 Games, some due to rest, a large amount due to an  left knee synovitis resulting in a non-surgical procedure at Emory. Although he came back for the end of the Regular Season, it was evident he wasn’t at full strength until the First Round against the Washington Wizards.

At the age of 32, there was a slight decline in Paul Millsap’s game, which could attribute to his usage rate. Millsap ranked second in usage among the players on the Hawks roster with a percentage of (24.4%) , behind Dennis Schroder, which could account for the steals, rebounds, three-point percentage, and field goal percentage per game total being slightly lower than in his previous years in Atlanta. Although some of his numbers decline a bit this season, he went from being a three point specialist during his Utah Jazz days to one of the best power forwards in the NBA since 2013.

Paul Millsap is well respected around the league as a great player and a great presence in the Hawks locker room. Also, we saw Millsap post a career high in points per game (18.1). In 73 games, Millsap posted (18.1) points per game, (7.7) rebounds per game, (3.7) assists per game, (1.3) steals per game, and a block. He would also shoot (44.2%) from the field and (48.6%) behind the arc. Millsap’s most memorable outing of the season was against the New York Knicks on January 29th when he posted a season high (37) points, (19) rebounds, (7) assists, and a steal. Also, in the Hawks victory against the San Antonio Spurs on January 1st, Millsap posted (32) points, (13) rebounds, (3) assists, and a block. 

NBA Players earn those contracts when the lights are bright in April and during Millsap’s career, he’s rarely missed an opportunity to excel for the Hawks in the Post-Season. Although the Hawks failed to make it out of the first round, Millsap wasn’t the blame. He averaged an eye-opening (24) Points Per Game and added (9) Rebounds Per Game, while shooting over 50% from the field. Some will question that matchup, but I feel a lot of front office executives around the league think he will easily receive a 100-million-dollar contract from all suitors.

Paul Millsap is a tremendous player and personifies the quote, “lead by example”. Every night, you know he’s going to show up and give you a fight whether you’re ready or not. This has been the best four years of his career thus far, and he’s been at the front of some amazing Atlanta Hawks history. I believe Paul Millsap should go get his money while he can, because this is a business. However, I don’t think the Hawks should break the bank for him; and should use their resources elsewhere.

So, this puts me at an awkward angle. I’d love to see the anchor man retire as a Hawk; however, I don’t think that’s an option at the moment. Let’s remember NBA Free Agency is a very fluid and crazy process where anything is possible. If this is the end, I want to personally thank Paul Millsap for such an incredible four years. You mean a ton to this city of Atlanta, the Hawks organization, and as a die-hard Hawks fan, you mean a lot to myself.

Michael Thomas: @ChosenOne_MT10

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