Should the Phoenix Suns Pursue Paul Millsap as he Departs Brooklyn?

Phoenix Suns, Paul Millsap. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Paul Millsap. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Paul Millsap kept his standards quite high this past offseason. In seeking a new deal, he spoke only with the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, and Golden State Warriors—three of the top four teams currently between each conference. As the fourth component to this “top quadrant,” the Phoenix Suns never connected with him, but now a few months removed, they might end up doing so after all.

Initially signing with Brooklyn, Millsap’s time with the Nets quickly fell apart. Although he started out as a key role player off the bench, he soon came to only see the floor during garbage time minutes.

Aside from a few ankle-breaking incidents, Millsap did not exactly play himself onto the shelf, but instead became drowned out by a wave of rookie talent.

But regardless, his displeasure for his minimal role with the team became public knowledge earlier this week, with reports surfacing about Brooklyn’s intentions to try and find him a new home that grants him a more significant role.

With the Suns finding themselves attached to trade rumors involving backup power forwards all season, such as Thaddeus Young and Domantas Sabonis, Millsap’s availability sparks some curiosity. If Phoenix deemed it truly necessary to land another four but struck out on everyone else, Millsap seems like a fine alternative on paper, especially with his ample playoff experience considered.

Should the Phoenix Suns try to add Paul Millsap as a role player?

To address this upfront, the answer is no. Whether via a trade or even the buyout market, the Suns need to stay about five JaVale McGee wingspan lengths away from Paul Millsap.

First and foremost, putting Millsap on the Suns only subjects him to a similar situation as his current one with the Nets.

Flooded with talent, Brooklyn possesses an embarrassment of riches with their rotation, hence why Millsap attained such little playing time and now wants out. With Phoenix also riddled with skilled players from top to bottom, his experience with the Suns would be no different.

A case can be made for him to take over Abdel Nader’s typical rotation spot to backup Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson as a third forward, but such a role would again only wield him a brief run time. Again, that puts him back in the doghouse, which he currently finds himself trying to escape.

But even when you look purely at his game, Millsap resembles an incredibly slow player who often struggles to move well up and down the floor. With the Suns as a top tier fast break squad, averaging the seventh most transition points per game, adding him to this team will be like throwing a square wheel onto a shopping cart.

From a general standpoint, Millsap additionally resembles a player making a clear and rapid decline. His points per game have dropped each of his last six years, with him averaging just 3.4 per contest for the Nets. His field goal percentage and rebounds have plummeted each of the last four years as well.

If the Suns find themselves with some extra minutes to spare, they cannot go to a guy like that when they have Jalen Smith on the bench, who looked like a true rising star in the league earlier this month when filling in for Deandre Ayton and McGee.

Re-Grading the Shamet Trade halfway through the Season. dark. Next

Millsap still resembles a consummate pro and deserves a chance to end his career the right way, but just not with the Suns. A homecoming with the Atlanta Hawks who desperately need defensive help feels like a much better idea for him, and if the Suns still want another power forward, maybe take a swing at Larry Nance Jr. in a trade.