In the summer of 2013, Power Forward Paul Millsap, who spent most of his career in Utah signed with the Atlanta Hawks for a two-year, $19 million contract. Millsap’s arrival was the end of the first era of Hawks basketball when Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford were the stars.
He would quickly emerge as a team leader and one of the best players on the Atlanta Hawks roster. He really didn’t say much but when he did, his teammates would follow. He was a great player, teammate, and leader during his four year tenure in a Hawks uniform.
In the 2013-14 season, Paul Millsap made an immediate impact averaging (17.9) Points Per Game, (8.5) Rebounds Per Game, (3.1) Assists Per Game, (1.7) Steals Per Game, and (1.1) Blocks Per Game. Millsap’s stellar season earned him a trip to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. Millsap helped the young Atlanta Hawks, who were the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference force the top-seeded Indiana Pacers to 7 games in the 1st Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
In Millsap’s second season, he posted (16.7) Points Per Game, (7.8) Rebounds Per Game, earned a career high in Steals (1.8 Per Game), and (3.1) Assists Per Game. Millsap was a key contributor to the Franchise Record 60-22 season for the Atlanta Hawks. Also, Millsap earned another trip to the NBA All-Star Game along with teammates Kyle Korver, Al Horford and Jeff Teague. Atlanta’s coach Mike Budenholzer would represent the Eastern Conference as well.
Also, after a 17-0 record in the month of January, a feat never accomplished prior to the 2014-15 season, Millsap would be selected with the NBA’s first Starting 5 “Player of the Month” award, along with former teammates Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, & Al Horford. The Hawks would capture the top seed in the Eastern Conference and lose in the Conference Finals to Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After Paul Millsap signed an extension to return to the Hawks on a three-year, $59 million contract, he posted another great season in a Hawks uniform averaging (17.1) points per game, a career high (9.0) rebounds per game, (3.3) assists per game, career highs in steals per game (1.8) and blocks per game (1.7). Millsap made another trip to the All-Star game and established himself as one of the best Power Forwards in the NBA.
Millsap was now the primary leader and captain on the Hawks. Despite the many trade rumors, inconsistencies among the roster, and injuries, Millsap helped the Hawks earn the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference and a series win over the Boston Celtics. Millsap’s most memorable contest came in a Game 4 loss as he posted a career high 45 Points. Their season ended in a Semi Finals sweep against the eventual NBA Champions, Cleveland Cavaliers.
In Millsap’s final season in a Hawks uniform, he averaged (18.1) Points Per Game, a career high, (7.7) Rebounds Per Game, a career high in Assists Per Game (3.7), (1.3) Steals Per Game, and a Block Per Game. Millsap was without question, the star of the 2016-17 Atlanta Hawks. Millsap had a tremendous playoff series against Washington, despite the Hawks eventually losing in six games. Millsap averaged (24.3) Points Per Game, (4.3) Assists Per Game, (1.7) Steals Per Game, and a Block. He was a match-up nightmare for Markieff Morris. Even at the age of 32, Paul Millsap could still be a lethal weapon for the Hawks and around the NBA.
Paul Millsap will always be remembered as a great player, leader, achiever, and true professional as an Atlanta Hawk. His hard work and dedication never went unnoticed. He played hard every single night and we as Hawks fans are so grateful for that. We hope that he has a great stint in Denver and we hope to see him have a great rest of his career. Thank You So Much Paul Millsap! As Hawks fans we truly appreciate your professionalism, hard work, dedication, and being True To Atlanta.
Ryan Thurman: @StrokeGame24