It has been well documented that in the star-studded NBA, teams without a go-to player struggle to compete. However, the starless but very deep Denver Nuggets find themselves tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a record of 14-19. The eighth seed in the west is up for grabs, and with one simple transaction the Nuggets could find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, “Sources say the Hawks have begun listening to trade offers for free agent-to-be Paul Millsap“. Last summer the Nuggets inquired about Millsap, but nothing quite transpired.
Although not a superstar, Millsap is definitely a top tier power forward in the NBA. The 31 year old will be an unrestricted free agent once the season wraps up, with a player option for next year. The Nuggets have recently shown their willingness to spend money, as they pursued future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade this past offseason.
Regardless if Millsap stays in Denver past this season, pulling the trigger on a move like this is worth the risk. On the season, Millsap is currently averaging 17.4 points, 8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Depending on what the Hawks are asking for in return, this would allow Wilson Chandler to once again come off the bench, a role in which he has thrived in this season. It would also make Kenneth Faried more expendable. Over the past couple seasons Faried’s name has come up in numerous trade rumors, and this move would finally allow the Nuggets to follow through. The Nuggets also have a first round pick to offer via the Memphis Grizzlies.
The addition of Paul Millsap would pair him alongside Nikola Jokic as the Nuggets starting frontcourt. A move like this would greatly increase the defensive efforts of the Nuggets, something head coach Michael Malone has been trying to preach since he arrived in Denver.
Although the Nuggets have a plethora of young talent which will develop over time, they need a go to player to compete now. Acquiring a player the caliber of Millsap would do wonders for the team and city. A Nuggets team consisting of Paul Millsap WILL make the playoffs this season. If they can get him to buy in and stay in Denver, that will open up the gates for future high profile free agents to choose the Mile High City.
As of now, the rumors of Millsap’s availability are only speculation, but if the Nuggets are serious about winning and moving in the right direction, they need to roll the dice and obtain Paul Millsap, the perennial Nugget killer.