Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team and he was exceedingly deserving. Millsap has operated as Atlanta's best and most valuable player during the 2015-2016 season and, as we discussed prior to the selection deadline, an argument even exists that Millsap should have been voted in as an All-Star starter.
However, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News took the Paul Millsap love to another level this week. Deveney released a ranking of all 24 players involved in the 2016 All-Star Game, and in doing so, he anointed Millsap as the second-best player in the Eastern Conference.
Yes, you read that correctly. Paul Millsap as the second-best player in the East.
To the surprise of no one, LeBron James topped the list of Eastern Conference players, but Millsap's ranking will undoubtedly shock some folks. To be fair, Atlanta's star power forward did rank as "just" the 11th-best player in the game, meaning that nine of the top ten came from the West, but Millsap's place ahead of the likes of Paul George, Andre Drummond, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry will meet some resistance.
The entire piece is worth a read, but the writer asserts that Paul Millsap is "quietly having his best season" and it is tough to argue. Through 50 games, Millsap is averaging 17.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game with a career-best 22.6 PER and a very nice 57.5% true shooting. Beyond that, he stuffs the stat sheet with 1.8 steals per game while operating as an above-average defender, and Millsap routinely bails out the Atlanta offense with his crafty nature around the rim and ability to step out and knock down jump shots.
In truth, Paul Millsap might not be better than players like George and Butler, but his performance this season is certainly on par with anyone in the East with the exception of LeBron James, and it is nice to see him recognized as such.