SI.com's Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney continue their countdown of the Top 100 NBA Players for the upcoming season with a look at No. 50-31. Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap checks in at No. 34. Here is what Golliver had to say about Millsap who moved up four spots from last season:
His two-way, no-nonsense, workhorse game didn't change much, and his newfound recognition said more about the talent disparity between the conferences than it did about his performance. Nevertheless, Millsap should still be commended for emerging as the Hawks' leading scorer after Al Horford went down with a season-ending pectoral injury in December. An Atlanta team that wobbled down the stretch on its way to the No. 8 seed would have been in truly dire straits without Millsap's positive impact on both sides of the ball.
GM Danny Ferry's tenure came crashing down amid a race-related controversy this month, but his decision to grab Millsap for $19 million over two years rather than re-sign Josh Smith for $54 million over four years (Smith's deal with the Pistons) should be remembered as one of the better free-agent moves in recent years.-- B.G.
Golliver nails it with this description more than once. Millsap stepped up when Horford went down and the Hawks would have been dead in the water without him. It is still a bit mind boggling that the Danny Ferry was able to upgrade the power forward position for a fraction of the cost that Josh Smith signed for in Detroit.