The Brooklyn Nets have added plenty of new faces and impact players this offseason, but they had to reckon with the fact that veteran power forward Jeff Green decided to suit up for the Denver Nuggets next season.
So why not replace him by signing one of Denver’s top contributors from last year in Paul Millsap?
Millsap may not be the ultra-physical low-post presence he was in Utah or the perennial All-Star from Atlanta, but his time in Denver showed he’s still capable of scoring with ease in the post and can provide the necessary experience and moxie for a deep run in the postseason.
The Nets needed to find some extra depth in the frontcourt despite the selection of Day’Ron Sharpe in the draft, as the sudden retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge last year and the lack of experience on the depth chart prompted the signing of a player like Millsap on Thursday.
This may not be a major change to Brooklyn’s depth chart at the moment, but they may need to move some pieces around in order to accommodate the veteran and his specific skill set.
Brooklyn Nets rotation after Paul Millsap signing
PG: James Harden, Patty Mills, Jevon Carter
SG: Kyrie Irving, Cam Thomas, DeAndre’ Bembry
SF: Joe Harris, Bruce Brown
PF: Kevin Durant, Paul Millsap, James Johnson, Alize Johnson
C: Blake Griffin, Nicolas Claxton, Day’Ron Sharpe
While the starting lineup remains unchanged, Millsap will be available off of the bench if the Nets ever want to lean on some bigger lineups. By keeping Nicolas Claxton at center, the Nets could deploy lineups that feature the offensive-minded Millsap and one of the best young defenders in the game in Claxton.
Millsap is not going to score as he did with Atlanta, but he proved that the mid-range game and post-up moves he leaned on for most of his career haven’t dissipated. He got plenty of open shots alongside Nikola Jokic in Denver, and that should be the case once again with Brooklyn.
He tallied 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, the former of which is his lowest average in over a decade and the latter of which is the worst mark his career, might not look like amazing production, but considering his age and the circumstances he was in with Denver, that’s not a poor output by any means.
In Brooklyn’s offense, Green had one of his strongest seasons in years, becoming a clutch shooter that was able to hit double-digits in points with regularity. Perhaps Millsap gets rejuvenated in this scheme and starts to have a Green-like resurgence?
While his post defense remains solid, there are some concerns about how he’ll hold up against quicker ball-handlers in an NBA that’s becoming more position-less with each passing week.
Even with those concerns, the addition of younger bigs like Claxton and Sharpe should help mitigate those worries. The Nets needed a veteran capable of putting the ball in the basket at an efficient rate if they want to build the best possible roster for dethroning the Bucks, and Millsap certainly checks that box.
There were plenty of contenders hot on Millsap’s tail, and that wouldn’t happen if his skills on either side have declined to the point where he isn’t a valuable player in some respect. Expect Millsap to put up numbers that are similar to what he amassed during his final season in Denver, all while serving as another respected veteran voice in that locker room.
If Millsap takes care of that, this signing will be a massive victory for the Nets.