When the Atlanta Hawks heard they were out of the running for Dwight Howard earlier this summer, the team quickly switched to one of their backup plans. Former Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap was likely on his way out of town and the Hawks made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Millsap joined the Hawks and will take the spot of former Atlanta power forward Josh Smith, who signed with the Detroit Pistons as a free agent. When this pair of moves were made, I’m sure Hawks fans everywhere were thrilled.
Smith has superstar talent, but for the life of him cannot put it all together. He’s got the body and athleticism to be one of the best all-around players in the game, however, for some reason he thinks he is more of a small forward and sometimes even a two guard.
Millsap will be a huge upgrade for the Hawks at that position for one main reason: efficiency. His decision-making is at a much higher level than where Smith is. Millsap is a career 51.6 percent shooter over the span of seven seasons — 51.6 percent! Smith clocks in at five percent under with a career shooting average of 46.5 percent.
At times, Smith tortured Hawks fans with his off-your-rocker type of shot selection. Instead of taking the ball to the basket — which he should do every single time he touches it — he would simply spot up for a quick jumper or even try attempting some ridiculous shot due to the shot clock expiring.
The fact that Millsap can not only shoot a high percentage — even outside the paint — but also be a factor in the post is a big asset to the team. He and Al Horford will be a great combination down low this next year, and hopefully for years to come.
Smith’s inability to get himself to where he could — and should — be is ultimately why Hawks fans are relieved he is gone. Welcome Mr. Millsap, Atlanta is happy to have you.