On Thursday night as the Atlanta Hawks took on the Brooklyn Nets in London and the British fans were treated to a high-scoring affair in a rare taste of NBA action on English soil. The Hawks put up a solid 110 points, but the Nets really came out firing as they put 127 on the board on their way to a victory.
Though the Hawks’ offense was solid enough across the pond on Thursday, their prized free-agent acquisition in Paul Millsap didn’t have the best of outings. In 29 minutes, Millsap put up just 13 points, three rebounds, one assist, three steals and one block while shooting only 5-14 from the floor and missing on his two attempts from long-range.
In actuality, Millsap has been up against it since the Hawks lost their star center in Al Horford to a pectoral injury. In the 29 games prior to Horford going down, Millsap averaged 16.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals and one block per game while converting on 49.2 percent of his shot attempts and 45.7 percent of his attempts from deep. In the 10 games since, including the London affair with Brooklyn, Millsap has averaged 18.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. The troubling part about Millsap’s production, though, is that he’s shot just 39.1 percent from the floor.
Millsap’s struggles mirror that of the Hawks’. Since the Horford injury, the Hawks are just 4-6 and have averaged just 4.5 points fewer per 100 possessions on the offensive end of the floor.
When you think about it, this should have been expected for this team. Not only is Horford a fantastic individual player with his production, but he’s also a guy who sets up the rest of the offense, including Millsap. When Millsap is asked to create his own offense much of the time, it doesn’t work quite as well for Atlanta. Judging by how they’ve played without Horford, head coach Mike Budenholzer is going to have to adjust this team’s offense.