Power forward Paul Millsap signed a two-year, $19 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks yesterday that will certainly improve the team’s chances in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, the Utah Jazz messed up big time allowing the 6’8”, 253-pound veteran to walk in free agency.
Millsap is one of the big men in the NBA that consistently flies under the radar despite putting up solid numbers every season. Last season with the Jazz, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.3 steals in 30.4 minutes per game. He also managed to convert 49.0 percent of his shots from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc (less than one attempt per game).
The 28-year-old is a force to be reckoned with on offense and can clear the boards like nobody’s business. Pairing him up with center Al Horford in Atlanta is going to create all sorts of problems for teams hoping to contend in the East next season. Both players dominate in the paint, but more importantly, they are above-average rebounders. Having Millsap and Horford constantly around the basket is going to be devastating for opponents. In fact, there are not many teams that will be able to compete with that kind of size and talent.
For the Jazz to allow Millsap to leave for just $19 million is a shame. The fact that Utah will not bring back either of their very talented big men from a season ago leaves a big void. The fans knew that the organization would not be able to re-sign both Millsap and center Al Jefferson, but to lose both in free agency is a tough pill to swallow.