Millsap’s Absence Provides Chance For Others

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks

Paul Millsap will miss the Hawks’ game against the Miami Heat Tuesday because of tendinitis in his right elbow.  He did not make the trip, and Atlanta hopes to have him back soon, maybe as early as Wednesday against the Pistons.  In the meantime, his absence means there’s a chance for others to step up and play big minutes in a game against a really good team.

Gustavo Ayon is now squarely in the rotation and should start tonight.  He’ll see the bulk of his minutes at center, but that means guys like Mike Scott, Elton Brand and Pero Antic will probably see minutes with the second unit.  While Atlanta will miss Millsap’s offensive presence, Mike Scott has done very well in his time.  He also has a mid-range jumper that he can step out and make, so defenses will have to play him similarly to how they would play Millsap, especially because Scott is an underrated post player.

Either Antic or Brand will be the backup center.  Neither can contribute as much offensively as Ayon would have in this role, but both can protect the rim.  Miami doesn’t have a lot of size, so if either of them can get position down low, they may be able to get a few buckets.

One good thing that may come out of this is that the Heat will now likely be forced to use Shane Battier or Udonis Haslem on Al Horford to start the game.  Horford will probably have more success offensively against either of those guys than he would have had against the taller, quicker Chris Bosh.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/NBAE/Getty Images

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