Reservations for New Orleans: Millsap named All-Star

Hawks power forward Paul Millsap dunks on the Spurs' Aron Baynes (16).

Combined ShapeCaption
Hawks power forward Paul Millsap dunks on the Spurs' Aron Baynes (16).

Paul Millsap is an All-Star.

The Hawks power forward was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a reserve Thursday after voting by NBA coaches was announced.

The Hawks, with the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference, will be represented at next month’s game in New Orleans on Feb. 16.

“It’s an honor to be chosen by the coaches as an All-Star,” Millsap said in a statement released by the Hawks. “I know this wouldn’t have happened without the help and support of my teammates and the hard work of our coaching staff, and I’m proud to represent the Hawks in New Orleans.”

Millsap is the first Hawks All-Star since Joe Johnson in 2012.

Millsap has averaged 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks in 43 games this season, his first with the Hawks. He spent the first seven seasons of his career in the Western Conference with the Jazz.

“We’ve played really well so far,” Jeff Teague said of the Hawks’ standing in the conference with a new coach, largely new roster and rash of injuries. “Paul Millsap has played great. He should have a great opportunity to make it. There are a lot of great players, but we are (fourth) in the East. From what everyone expected of us. We knew what we could do … (but) for us to be doing all this, someone from our team deserves to be there.”

Rounding out the Eastern Conference reserves will be Chris Bosh of the Heat, DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors, Roy Hibbert of the Pacers, Joakim Noah of the Bulls, John Wall of the Wizards and Johnson, of the Nets.

“The coaches got this one right,” TNT analyst Charles Barkley said at the announcement of Millsap.

Among Eastern Conference power forwards, Millsap ranks first in points per game, assists per game, steals per game, field goals made and free throws made. He ranks second in blocks per game, 3-point field goals made (career-high 41) and 3-point field-goal percentage. Millsap has 16 double-doubles.

Millsap was low-key in his comments before the announcement. However, he stressed the importance of the Hawks being represented.

“I really feel this team needs to have someone in there to represent us,” Millsap said Thursday afternoon. “Under all the circumstances that we’ve been through this year, we still manage to find a way to win games.”

Millsap has been especially valuable since the Hawks lost two-time All-Star center Al Horford to a season-ending torn right pectoral muscle. In the 15 games without Horford, Millsap has averaged 19.6 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Millsap signed a two-year, $19 million contract this summer. He is the only unrestricted free-agent signee to make the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a starter or reserve.

“This is a very well-deserved honor,” general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. “Paul has been an All-Star player and an All-Star teammate for us. The Atlanta Hawks are very proud to have Paul representing the city of Atlanta and our team.”

Horford and Teague were the other Hawks on the 120-player All-Star ballot for fan voting released earlier this season.

Named reserves in the Western Conference were the Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, the Rockets’ James Harden and Dwight Howard, the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, the Spurs’ Tony Parker and the Clippers’ Chris Paul.