The fans did a decent job selecting the NBA All-Stars for the Eastern Conference as Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade all made the team. Some might argue that other players should have been the starters, but for the most part, the fans got it right.
Now, the question becomes, will the coaches select the right players to be the reserves for the East? A bunch of players deserve a spot on the All-Star team as a reserve due to their performances on the season so far. However, one name that the coaches must include on their list of reserves is Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks. He’s having an outstanding season in his first year with Atlanta playing the power forward position and should be one of the first names considered by the coaches when they vote.
Faced with adversity many times this season, Millsap has excelled at the highest level whenever the Hawks have called upon him. He was expected to come in from the Utah Jazz to be the third option on the team behind Al Horford and Jeff Teague originally. However, that completely changed when Horford injured his shoulder and Atlanta needed Millsap to carry the team on his back as the No. 1 scoring option. Some players may not have been ready to take a team on their back, but he welcomed the challenge and took his game to the next level in order to lead the Hawks. Since the injury to Horford, Millsap is averaging 19.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in order to replace the production of the All-Star center in 14 games since the incident.
After recent performances, Millsap has raised his season averages to 17.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Hawks. Where he stands with these numbers in the Eastern Conference may surprise you, too. Out of all the players in the East, he ranks 10th on the list in points per game and is first in that category for all big men. His rebounding ranks him at 11th out of all the players in East as well, which signifies to me that Millsap definitely deserves a spot on the All-Star team. It would be a crime to leave the best scoring big man in the East off the list, but especially someone who rebounds at a very high level, too.
When you also consider the fact that the Hawks have a winning record, this makes the selection of Millsap an easy one for the coaches. There are not a lot of teams with winning records in the East and if anyone deserves to go, it’s a player who makes a difference in the win-loss column. The coaches better get this right, because if he doesn’t make the team, the NBA needs to seriously reconsider the whole voting process for All-Star game.