Paul Millsap reveals playoff advice to young teammates
The Denver Nuggets were hardly a trendy pick to be a top-three team in the Western Conference. After all, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder seemingly had the star power to make deep runs, and of course the Warriors were still the preeminent pick to repeat as NBA champions.
Denver also rostered a very young lineup, with veteran Paul Millsap as the only player over 30 years old returning for the 2018-19 season. But head coach Mike Malone’s team won an additional eight games to capture the second seed in the West, as Jamal Murray made additional strides in his third season while Nikola Jokic continued to perform at an MVP level.
Now, the baby-faced Nuggets enter into a playoff series with an organization that is hardly new to these scenarios. The San Antonio Spurs are making their 22nd consecutive playoff appearance under head coach Gregg Popovich. And though the names on the back of the jerseys have changed, the standard of excellence has not.
Comparatively, many of Denver’s young stars will be seeing the first playoff minutes of their careers. So it is invaluable to have a playoff veteran like Millsap to lean on.
Millsap–who has played in over a full regular season’s worth of playoff games in his career–had some rather trite and humorous advice for some of his inexperienced teammates:
The #Nuggets playoff inexperience is a big storyline going into tonight's Game 1 vs. the Spurs. I asked Paul Millsap, who has 87 playoff games under his belt, what his advice is to young teammates. He said..
"One, don't overthink, just play basketball."
"Two, don't overthink."
— Chris Dempsey (@chrisadempsey) April 13, 2019
Despite averaging his fewest points per game since the 2009-10 season, Millsap has been a critical cog in Denver’s run to becoming one of the best teams in the West.
He has also shown the ability to raise his game in the playoffs, averaging 24.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists with the Atlanta Hawks in a first-round series loss against the Washington Wizards during the 2016-17 season.