Paul Millsap was just selected to his fourth consecutive all star game, which is all four years he has played for the Hawks. Millsap played seven seasons in Utah previous to his time in Atlanta and was a solid starter there, but the Anchorman has blossomed in Atlanta. He has scored at least 16 points per game in all four seasons, as well as leading the team in scoring three years in a row. This season, Millsap is averaging a career best 18 points per game. But what makes Millsap great is not only his scoring, it is his ability to fill up every column of the box score. He is averaging over 1 block and 1 steal per game, as well as a career high 3.8 assists and a solid 8.1 rebounds per game.
Millsap’s consistent excellence has gained him a lot of respect and admiration from those inside of the NBA, but the common fan often doe not give him the respect he deserves. Because of this, it is easy to make the argument for Millsap as the most underrated player in the NBA. Besides Lebron, and now maybe Antetokounmpo, there is not another player in the Eastern conference with a more complete game. He and the Hawks, however, have embraced the under-the-radar status of the team because it matches Millsap’s personality.
The most impressive part of Millsap’s success is that he was a mid second round pick. In the NBA, most second round picks are considered a success if they can just stay in the league long enough to make an impact. Since the NBA draft became the two-round system in 1989, just 17 second round picks have been selected as all-stars. Millsap also has the most appearances out of any of those players, making him arguably the best second round draft pick ever.
The anchorman will be a free agent this summer, and there has been a lot of discussion with what to do with him. He will be 32, which usually means his play should go downhill from here, but Millsap has really gotten better with age. For a short time, the Hawks were shopping him to find a trade, but luckily, nothing worked out. It is a hard decision, because re-signing him would cost a lot of money and he is not a superstar, so deciding if he is worth the price tag will be the front office’s first challenge. But right now, the Hawks have the second best record in the NBA in 2017 and are now just 4 games behind the Cav’s for first place in the East, thanks in large part to Millsap. This offseason may be a difficult one, but right now the Hawks can just focus on continuing to win.
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