Paul Millsap’s top five moments as a Denver Nugget
It was the summer of 2017. The Denver Nuggets were a team on the rise, led by a dynamic young core of Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. Denver had already established itself as one of the premier offensive teams in the league but was looking to take the next step by adding a veteran presence that can help the team improve on the other end of the floor.
Enter Paul Millsap.
Millsap entered free agency following four-consecutive All-Star appearances as a member of the Atlanta Hawks. Even at 32, Millsap still brought exactly what the Nuggets needed to the table, thus forming the perfect marriage between the two parties.
Over the past three seasons, Millsap has been a veteran leader in the locker room and an anchor on the defensive end, which has translated to Denver becoming a true playoff contender in the Western Conference.
The team’s defense has been an above-average unit over the past two seasons, while Millsap has provided Nuggets fans with plenty of reasons to cheer since he inked a three-year contract back on July 13, 2017.
To celebrate #4PMDay, we’re counting down the top five moments of Millsap’s time as a Nugget.
5) Nuggets debut (Oct. 18, 2017)
Denver’s marquee free agency signing made his regular-season debut against one of his former teams in the Utah Jazz and certainly didn’t disappoint.
Although Millsap was still working his way into Denver’s offense, he finished with 19 points (on 7-of-15 shooting) and six rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Although the Nuggets would go on to lose the game, it provided fans with a glimpse of not only what Millsap can do on the court, but how we would fit in with his teammates for years to come.
4) Career-high six blocks against Oklahoma City (Nov. 9, 2017)
Just a few weeks later, Millsap showcased his elite defensive abilities in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 40 minutes of action, Millsap chipped in on both ends of the floor, scoring 17 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists.
However, it was the four-time All-Star’s rim protection that really stood out, as Millsap tied a career-high with six blocks in the victory. Millsap also added two steals on the defensive end for good measure.
This wouldn’t be the only memorable game Millsap had against the Thunder during the 2017-18 campaign…
3) 36 points against Oklahoma City (March 30, 2018)
During the stretch run of the 2017-18 season, the Nuggets were a desperate team with their backs against the wall. At 40-35 heading into this late March contest, Denver would proceed to kick off a six-game winning streak against tough competition which allowed them to fight for a playoff spot until game 82 of the regular season.
In this dramatic 126-125 overtime victory on the road, Millsap scored 36 points on 13-of-18 shooting from the field, while he also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out two assists in his 40 minutes of action. The 36 points still stand as the most Millsap has scored in a game as a Nugget.
2) Game-winner vs. Indiana (March 26, 2019)
For Millsap and the Nuggets, the 2018-19 season was full of plenty of success in late-game situations. Denver thrived in crunch time, owning the league’s best record in games decided by three points or less. Millsap contributed to this success, as he did his best to create memorable moments for fans to cherish forever.
As Denver was fighting for playoff positioning, Millsap knocked down his second go-ahead shot of the season, as he drove from the 3-point line towards the hoop against one of the game’s elite rim protectors in Myles Turner. Millsap adjusted his body to get off a tough layup, and he used the backboard perfectly to help Denver secure a big home victory.
1) Game-winner vs. Chicago (Oct. 31, 2018)
The Chicago Bulls had a spooky ending to their Halloween back in 2018. After the two teams needed every second of an overtime period to gain separation, the Nuggets turned to Jokić to try and steal a big road win early on in the season.
However, Jokić missed his mid-range jumper, which bounced off the rim and backboard at the same time, which allowed Millsap to push the ball back off the backboard once again, only this time it went through the net.
With just 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock, the game was effectively over, as Millsap used his timely positioning and soft touch to give the Nuggets the win.