ByKL Chouinard, NBA.com (http://www.nba.com/hawks/features/5-ways-paul-millsap-expanded-his-game-season)
It doesn’t make sense to say that the 47th player chosen in an NBA Draft could end up being its most productive player, but that statement could, in fact, end up being true. After another sensational season, Paul Millsap is poised to become the most prolific player from the 2006 Draft.
Do-It-All Paul had a historic 2015-16 campaign. The 31-year-old became the first player in NBA history to surpass 250 assists, 125 blocks, 125 steals, 700 rebounds, and 50 three-pointers in the same season. He was the only player who ranked in the top 10 in both steals and blocks. He also made a third consecutive All-Star appearance, a feat not lost on one of his original NBA teammates, Indiana Pacers forward C.J. Miles.
“(Paul) is just … my man. It’s just fun to see guys who you started out with see success, play well and make names for themselves. He’s an All-Star,” Miles said earlier this season, emphasizing the honor with equal parts appreciation and wonder.
A decade ago, the Utah Jazz selected Millsap, a three-time NCAA rebounding champion, with the 47th pick after having selected Miles with the 34th pick a season earlier. The pair played six seasons together in Utah, and Miles appreciates Millsap even more because of their shared, unheralded beginnings.
“It’s just great to see what he has been able to do in this league,” Miles said, “and I’m happy for him. He’s one of the guys that I have a bond with. It’s a little bit more than basketball just because we started together.”
Millsap wasn’t the only great player in his draft class. Stars like LaMarcus Aldridge, J.J. Redick and Kyle Lowry were all chosen before Millsap, as were Mouhamed Sene, Kosta Perovic, Denham Brown, Marcus Vinicius and Lior Eliyahu. It should be noted that Millsap didn’t outperform his draft class solely on the talent with which he entered the league; each year he worked diligently in the summer to get better. In fact, Millsap himself said that he hopes that he and his teammates will make strides to improve this offseason.
“The sky is the limit,” Millsap said. “Every player on this team has to take getting better and bringing something different to the table seriously this summer.”