You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Millsap took it step by step to become four-time All-Star


Paul Millsap’s career has been a grind – one step after another all the way to four straight All-Star appearances.

The Hawks power forward was named an Eastern Conference reserve for next month’s NBA All-Star Game. He has been honored each year in a Hawks uniform since being acquired following his first seven seasons with the Jazz.

“That’s what it’s been, it’s been a grind for me working my way up,” Millsap said Friday morning. “Everything has been steps taken. Being a second-round pick. Being drafted by Utah. Not being a starter, playing 16-17 minutes a game. To working my way into a starting position three or four years later. Then to move here and have a bigger role and being able to showcase my talents. It’s been steps taken.”

Millsap became just the fifth Hawks player to make four straight All-Star appearances joining Bob Pettit, Lou Hudson, Dominique Wilkins and Joe Johnson.

Millsap knew to answer his phone with Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer called Thursday. It’s becoming a habit. Millsap has been an All-Star each of Budenholzer’s seasons with the team.

“I often joke he makes me a much better coach,” Budenholzer said.

Millsap leads the team in scoring at 18.0 points per game. The versatile big man is also second in rebounds (8.1), assists (3.8), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.0). The Hawks enter Friday’s game against the Wizards fourth in the East, four games behind the Cavaliers, a game behind the Raptors and a half-game behind the Celtics.

“I don’t think any all-star would be an all-star without their teammates,” Millsap said. “Especially in my situation, our team is top four, top three in the East. We have to win games. Winning games help to solidify an all-star spot. I’m blessed and I’m grateful for my teammates, coaching staff and this organization for putting me in that position.”

Budenholzer admitted to a little angst waiting for the call on whether a member of his team would be represented in New Orleans on Feb. 19. Teammate Dennis Schroder had no worries.

“He is the biggest player for us,” Schroder said. “He does it every game. He deserves it. It was for sure that he was going to make it. There was no doubt about it.”

Millsap will return to his home state of Louisiana for another All-Star Game. His first appearance in 2014 was also held there. Millsap, who played collegiately at Louisiana Tech, recalls that first experience as a blur. He looks forward to enjoying the full experience of being back on familiar ground.

In his four seasons with the Hawks, Budenholzer has seen Millsap grow into a leader. Millsap, usually a man of few words, has even become more vocal in directing the team.

“I can’t say enough about how he’s handled timeouts, the locker room, leadership, film sessions,” Budenholzer said. “He is continuing to grow. People are focused on how he plays, but I think he’s grown in a lot of other ways that really helps us a lot.

“He’s still Paul. It’s all relative but I would say he’s significantly more vocal.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Hawks

New Hawks GM Schlenk already focused on important upcoming decisions
New Hawks GM Schlenk already focused on important upcoming decisions

Travis Schlenk already is on the job. Although the start date for the Hawks’ new general manager and head of basketball operations is not until June 1, Schlenk arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday. A day ahead of the official announcement of his hire, Schlenk had dinner with head coach Mike Budenholzer. The two met again Thursday morning and have...
NBA legend West endorsed Schlenk for Hawks’ GM
NBA legend West endorsed Schlenk for Hawks’ GM

Travis Schlenk has the full endorsement of Jerry West. That goes a long way. The Hawks announced the hire of Schlenk as the franchise’s new general manager Thursday. The 41-year-old Schlenk arrives after spending the past 12 years with the Golden State Warriors, the past five as assistant general manager. Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler spoke...
Hawks announce hire of Schlenk as new GM (updated)
Hawks announce hire of Schlenk as new GM (updated)

Travis Schlenk will get an early start at his new job. On the same day that the Golden State Warriors begin play in the NBA Finals, the organization’s third consecutive trip to the championship series, Schlenk will take over the Hawks. The Hawks announced the hire of Schlenk as the team’s new general manager and head of basketball operations...
Job 1 for the Hawks and Schlenk: Look to a time beyond LeBron
Job 1 for the Hawks and Schlenk: Look to a time beyond LeBron

The Hawks are set to hire Travis Schlenk, once on Ron Jirsa’s staff at Georgia and lately the assistant general manager with Golden State, as GM. This would mean Schlenk is moving from the NBA West, which the Warriors have ruled for three seasons, to the East. If you’re a GM based in the NBA East, here are your starting points: 1. LeBron...
Hawks close to hiring executive with UGA ties as GM
Hawks close to hiring executive with UGA ties as GM

The Atlanta Hawks are on the verge of hiring Travis Schlenk for their vacant general manager position, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed. Schlenk currently is the assistant general manager of the Golden State Warriors. The 41-year-old Schlenk has spent the past 12 seasons with the Warriors, including the past five as the assistant to general...
More Stories