Paul Millsap is Not The Messiah for The Nuggets
A week after receiving scornful messages from angry fans for drafting players who are not well-known, The Denver Nuggets Front Office decided to pursue an All-Star in Free Agency. Even Though they wanted him on their team for years, Paul Millsap always looked elsewhere until this Summer because other teams knew he wasn’t worth the amount of money he wanted. The Nuggets was the only team in the NBA who was willing to give him a max contract. The deal is a 3 year-90 mil contract with a 2 year option meaning he can be released after the 2018-2019 season. Many Denver fans believe this signing elevates their Nuggets status as a contender in the West, but I beg to differ. The Nuggets was already a top 10 team in the Western Conference without Millsap. With the growth and maturity of their youthful Big 3 in Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris, they were already going to be a contender for a bottom 3 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. The signing of Millsap should automatically put them in the playoffs next season, but they are in no way, shape, or form, good enough to take down the likes of Golden State, San Antonio, Houston, Oklahoma City, Portland, or even a revamped Minnesota Wolves team.
The top teams in the Western Conference has multiple players with not only playoff experience, but they have experience winning against good teams in high pressure moments. As for The Nuggets, Millsap is probably the only guy with such experience. However, Millsap was never able to elevate a mediocre Atlanta Hawks team as a legitimate team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Now many people want to point to his numbers but such is deceiving. Yes, he averaged 18 Points Per Game and 8 Rebounds Per Game, but you must look at the team that he played for. If you can’t average 18 ppg with 7 rpg playing for the Atlanta Hawks, then you do not belong in the NBA. In his overall 11-year career, he has only averaged 14.2 ppg and 7 rpg, and to be quite honest, the only reason why he became an All-Star was due to the fact that he was in the woeful Eastern Conference. When he was a member of the Utah Jazz for 7 seasons, he never received an All-Star bid. Millsap is the type of player that’ll make a great impact on an established contender who needs one piece to help them get a ring. He does not belong on a team that is developing and still trying to move around pieces to find their identity.
The Nuggets need to build for tomorrow and not today. It makes no sense that they are pursuing so-called big name free agents because The Golden State Dynasty is still at its peak. Besides Golden State, The Nuggets are not even a top three team in their own division. Now Utah might take a step back with the loss of Gordon Hayward, but Oklahoma City’s 1-2 punch of Russell Westbrook & Paul George should help that team win more than 47 games next season. The Portland Trail Blazers strengthened their frontcourt in the draft by adding Caleb Swanigan and Zack Collins to ease some pressure of Jusuf Nurkic. The Minnesota Wolves should be an automatic top 5 team in the west as All-Star Jimmy Butler re-unites with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Also, the wolves added quality Point Guard Jeff Teague to the roster to compliment the young talent of Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. The Western Conference is too loaded for the Nuggets to stress themselves out to be a super team. Why go after players like a Kevin Love who’ll be gone after one season when you can continue to allow your young big 3 in Jokic, Murray, and Harris to grow and get better to together? While Everyone else is focusing on winning now, The Nuggets could focus on the future and build a team identity so once those super teams get old and collapse after 3-4 years, The Nuggets will be ready to take front center stage. Instead of going after another Veteran Point Guard in George Hill, The Nuggets need to officially hand the keys over to Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. These two young men have shown that they are ready to take that next level. Murray Showcased that on the national stage as the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge MVP scoring 36 Points. In his 3 seasons with the team, Harris has averaged 11 PPG and 2 Assist Per Game. The Nuggets need to find out which of the two can be a solid Point Guard. Adding a starting free agent guard or getting rid of Harris will only hurt the Nuggets. Instead of trying to please fans who are impatient with a low basketball IQ, The Nuggets must stick with the youth movement and give their young backcourt a chance to click together, mature, grow, and develop into quality starters in the 2017-2018 season. Another year of delay will not only hurt the young guard’s growth, but it will hurt the Nuggets chances of contending 4 seasons from now. Paul Millsap is a solid piece that will fit well on the court for the Nuggets, but he is not the answer for their future hopes of being the best in the west. The Nuggets need to focus building for tomorrow instead of building for today trying to please fans who’ll eventually forget about them on the night of Monday September 11, 2017.