The Atlanta Hawks‘ lone NBA All-Star is back, which means it’s time for Atlanta to make their push for the playoffs. Paul Millsap returned to the team after sitting out with a knee contusion for five games, and Atlanta couldn’t be happier. With Millsap back, the Hawks can finally get back to winning games instead of losing them like they have for the past few weeks.
The power forward brings a lot to the table every time he takes the court. He’s not only the Hawks leading scorer at 17.5 points per game, but he’s also the team’s leading rebounder at 8.2 rebounds per game. To make him look even better, he’s first on the team with 1.9 steals per game as well. Basically, Millsap is what we call a game-changer, and whenever he’s on the floor, the Hawks always have a chance to win games.
Look no further than his latest game against the Los Angeles Clippers for evidence of his impact. Millsap was not at 100 percent, yet he still managed to make his imprint on the outcome. Atlanta failed to get the win on the road as they fell 109-108 to the Clippers, but it wasn’t because of their best player. Millsap provided 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and five steals for the Hawks in order for them to even have a chance at pulling out a victory at the Staples Center.
Despite the loss, the NBA All-Star’s effort is a good sign of things to come for Atlanta. His return means that the Hawks finally have the firepower on offense and defense in order to make a run for the NBA playoffs. As things stand in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta currently sits at the No. 8 seed by a slim margin over the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. However, if the Hawks want to get a better seed, they have to get on a some kind of winning streak.
Millsap will lead them to the playoffs, which is a nice accomplishment for both him and coach Mike Budenholzer in their first year with Atlanta, but do they really want to face the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the first round? If that’s the case, the Hawks will once again make the playoffs just to be bounced out in the first round by a far superior team like years past.