Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap took part in All-Star game media festivities today and broached a number of topics including the All-Star Game experience and how teams deal with persistent trade rumors.
Millsap was asked about San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard who is making his first trip to the NBA All-Star Game. Millsap acknowledged that he is coming into his own as a player on and off the court.
"You can kind of see it happening in front of your eyes, especially with a coach like Pop, I think that helps him out a lot," Millsap said. "He's definitely one of our stars in this league." When asked what advice he would give a first-time All-Star like Leonard, Millsap replied:
"All I can tell him is enjoy it, man. Don't take it for granted. This is a beautiful time. This is a great opportunity. A lot of people don't get to experience this, so I mean, the best you can do is just try to enjoy it."
Millsap and the Hawks have had to deal with no shortage of trade rumors over the last month. Millsap was asked about how players continue to perform at a high level and prevent the rumors from becoming a distraction.
"I mean, I've heard my name in trades for ten years now," Millsap said. "I mean, it's something you get used to. I don't get into the what-ifs or where I could be or whatever. I'm at the All-Star right now, and I'm happy with where I'm at and if something was to happen, got to go."
"I think some [locker rooms] may be better at doing it. I mean, if it's your first time or you're a young guy and you hear your name come up, it's tough. You never witness this or experience it. But me being here for ten years, I mean, I've heard it all."