The Atlanta Hawks haven't moved the needle in regards to the NBA's All-Star fan voting but they do have a couple of candidates for the showcase event. USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt disregards fan voting and gives his take on what the East squad should look like. Spoiler, it includes Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap as a reserve:
Frontcourt: Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks scored in free agency by signing Millsap, who is third in double-doubles (16) among free agent acquisitions. He is averaging 19.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists since Al Horford's season-ending injury.
I asked the question earlier this month on Twitter that if the Hawks could get one All-Star then who was more deserving? Jeff Teague or Paul Millsap? What I got back in return was pretty much a split. The Hawks have slid to fourth in the East behind Indiana, Miami and Toronto but the case could be made that they deserve two All-Stars. That's a discussion for another day but I agree that Millsap should be there and here is why.
Millsap has done everything that could be asked of him since he signed over the summer for what has turned into the biggest bargain of the offseason. He's averaging 17.4 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field. He's added a three-point shot to his arsenal and is a good enough defender.
Al Horford was having a season that would have made this discussion unnecessary. Jeff Teague is another worthy candidate but should the Hawks get only one I think that Millsap is the choice. Teague has played well and is off to the best start of his career but a lot of his success can be attributed to a higher usage rate. Teague's shooting percentage is down considerably to 42 percent and his three-point percentage has plummeted to 26 percent.
Don't get me wrong, Teague has been an integral part of Atlanta's success this season thanks to his playmaking and his propensity to get to the free throw line. Like I pointed out, he in many ways is having his best season as a pro but there is room for improvement. That is the biggest reason I think Millsap is the choice.
There is still enough time remaining for things to change considerably before All-Star selections are made. Teague could make up some ground, Millsap could struggle without Horford and the Hawks could fall below .500 and end up out of consideration. However, if we were picking today I think Jeff Zillgitt has it right. Paul Millsap should be an All-Star.
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