Morning Shootaround

Paul Millsap welcomes Denver teammates to his hoops facility in Atlanta staff reports

As a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Paul Millsap went from a solid offseason signing in the summer of 2013 to a four-time All-Star by the time last summer came around. Now with the Denver Nuggets after securing a big free-agent payday over the summer, he and his new team visit his old squad tonight (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass).

* Photo gallery: Nuggets practice at Millsap’s facility

Denver was picked by many to take a big jump in the standings this season. A 1-3 start has sacked them a bit and Millsap, in an effort to boost team chemistry, welcomed his new teammates into his 44,000-square foot basketball workout facility yesterday. Gina Mizell of The Denver Post has more:

Welcome to Core 4, Paul Millsap’s freshly finished training facility in northeast Atlanta. This is where the Denver Nuggets practiced Thursday as they aim to snap out of a 1-3 funk to begin the season. But it’s also where Millsap first introduced himself to his new Denver teammates, offering up his basketball digs for a voluntary minicamp in August.

As Millsap prepares to face his former team for the first time as a Nugget, his gym essentially serves as a bridge between his All-Star tenure with the Atlanta Hawks and his new chapter in Denver.

“The fact that he allowed us to come in here,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, “it speaks to his willingness to understand, ‘I’m going to a new team and I want to try to create those bonds and that chemistry as quickly as possible.’ What better way than to come down here to Atlanta, in his town and his facility, and kind of start that?”

Added Malone: “That’s such a big part of it. You bring all these people together, but if you’re not getting to know one another as teammates, as people, I think your chemistry is only so deep.”

The 44,000-square-foot facility boasts several slick amenities. A hot tub, cold tub and sauna. A weight room with turf and a track. Even a kitchen area with fancy backsplash tile and office space that will belong to Millsap.

But when asked about their favorite features, Millsap and Malone did not hesitate — the courts.

“I see open space,” Malone said. “I see a lot of room for us to get work in.”

The Nuggets utilized it all Thursday afternoon, darting from one court to another during drills. As teammates put up extra shots following practice, Millsap reflected on his four years with the Hawks, when the 6-foot-8 power forward expanded his game to the 3-point line and developed into a perennial All-Star and playoff regular. He expects a massive contingent of friends and family in the stands at Phillips Arena on Friday night, and acknowledged emotions will flow despite his typically calm demeanor.

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