Well, wha' happened?
Paul Millsap was supposed to be dealt, but now it looks like he is not going anywhere, no sir. Out is the notion that the Hawks have detonated this team and in is the notion that Millsap is too valuable to let get away.
What changed? Let's break it down just a smidgy.
What was said: "Paul Millsap is too valuable to trade"
Translation: We shopped him, but teams took a look at his contract, his opt out and what the Hawks wanted in return for the All-Star and said, "Ummm, not at this juncture, no."
Result: No Millsap trade, yet.
What was said: "Hawks are determined to compete in the Eastern Conference"
Translation: "Holy crap, this conference is so flat we've won six in a row and are in 4th place!"
Result: It's hard to take anything less than the best possible deal for Millsap when you are reasonably well placed in the playoff hunt.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!?!?!!
What it means is that the Hawks would have traded Millsap if someone like the Raptors had come across with Jonas Valanciunas, Norman Powell and a pick, but since no trade like that emerged, and the Hawks are suddenly three games and two spots behind those same Raptors, why take a lesser deal than you want when you can kick the can two months down the road and see where you are?
The trade market for Millsap will not go away unless he is injured, a possible scenario of course, but the Hawks can hold for a little while as they see where all of this goes and open the market back up if things change.
Will it matter?
The Hawks have figured out their defense and are back to being the second best defense over the past 10 games and first over the last five games. The offense still needs help, as it is middle of the pack over the last five games, but their net rating is back up to third best.
Perhaps improvement in Dennis Schröder is part of that -- over the last five games he has played slower in pace, but raised his efficiency and lowered his personal defensive rating.
Also, part of the recent spike for the team may have addition by subtraction because (hold on, I'm getting emotional) the departure of Kyle Korver took the lowest net rated player this season and the 28 minutes per game he was getting, replacing it with more minutes for the much higher rated Tim Hardaway Jr. and Thabo Sefolosha.
Does it mean the Hawks secretly infected the Cavs with Korver and have now turned the tables on the defending champs? Maybe! And that's a better outlook than the Hawks had 10 games ago when all of this began to take shape.
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