Who are the most crucial Atlanta Hawks players? Part 2

6 of 8

3.  Paul Millsap, PF 

Paul Millsap had a team-high 19 points versus Memphis. (Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Hawks stunned the NBA world during the offseason when they signed Paul Millsap. The shock was not that Millsap signed to play in Atlanta, but the contract on which he agreed (two years, $19 million). Millsap, considered by some as the second best free agent on the market this summer, figured to command a large contract. Instead, Hawks GM Danny Ferry was able to bring Millsap in at a very reasonable $9.5 million per year ($4 million less annually than J-Smoove’s contract with Detroit).

Millsap is a savvy NBA player who will team in the post with Al Horford. Millsap has shown that he will be a physical presence at the defensive end of the floor. It was fun watching him bang down low with Zach Randolph throughout the preseason game with Memphis at Philips Arena. Millsap gave no ground to the Grizzlies star power forward, and will be asked to do things like that on a nightly basis this season.

On offense, Millsap is a similar player to Horford. He is able to score close to the basket, but also possess the ability to sink those mid-range jump shots from 15-20-feet from the basket. Horford and Millsap, as I already mentioned above, should compliment each other well.

One alarming observation on Millsap is he fired up a few 3-point shots this preseason. That is not something the Hawks need. After watching Josh Smith fire up ill-advised shot after ill-advised shot from 3-point land, Hawks fans do not need Millsap making the same poor decisions. I’m going to assume this is not something fans should concern themselves with. Don’t look for Millsap to take such shots when the games count.