1. Paul Millsap
This one’s for the defense.
There isn’t much Paul Millsap hasn’t seen in his 15 years in the league. He’s been to the playoffs in all but three of those years and has an arsenal of bedtime stories that’ll keep you up all night (“It was the year of 2009, and Kobe was still unstoppable…”). Millsap’s been living in the twilight zone for some time now, playing in fewer and fewer games for Denver, but man, he’s had it good. As he nears the inevitable end of his basketball career, though, he joins that eternally haunting group of players in NBA purgatory who have yet to win a championship. If Millsap has even the smallest pang of regret, of what could have been, then he should consider making a move to Brooklyn.
Denver has treated him well. Millsap played the perfect part-time role for the Nuggets in their deep playoff run and made the most of his precious minutes. He’s got plenty years of experience on those other basketball “youths” and has the highest hoops IQ of the bunch; plus, he provides interior defense and smart decision-making, which would be a godsend for the Nets. He’ll fit into Steve Nash’s lineup just fine, either slipping through a pick-and-roll with Kyrie or setting a screen for Joe or lobbing a picture-perfect alley-oop for Kevin.
Nash likes respectable guys “with character” like himself, and Millsap has made a career out of character.
When Brooklyn has to face the likes of Giannis, Jimmy Butler, and Jayson Tatum in their division, Millsap proves time and time again he can match up defensively against the stars. Playing time is another question, what with his weathered and aging bones, but Millsap still has a lot of heart and love to give to the game. He shot 44 percent from the field for Denver and can make a dent on the scoreboard, but on defense, he could be the irreplaceable second unit piece that Brooklyn desperate needs.
Millsap’s career doesn’t have to end with a quiet and dignified exit from the league. It can end with a tear-inducing champagne-popping hip-hip-hooraying championship, and he can win it all on the Nets. In Brooklyn, he’ll have one more glorious story to tell and a ring to show for it.