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Why Heat should target Paul Millsap in free agency

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The talented veteran power forward could create an exceptional duo with Hassan Whiteside.

NBA: Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat finished the 2017-2018 season as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, but missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker loss to the Chicago Bulls. The Heat now need to look towards free agency and the NBA Draft for players to fill needs to improve next season. In particular, the Heat’s involvement during the free agency period should be very interesting.

It’s clear that the Miami will need to develop a more effective, all-around starting lineup to climb up the standings next season. The team will be opening up a good amount of cap space this offseason with Chris Bosh’s contract coming off the team’s books. Depending on what happens with some of the other players on the roster, there is the potential for the Heat to have a good amount of money to spend on the free agent market.

One of the team’s most apparent needs is a starting power forward. Paul Millsap could be the right fit for the team, as he is widely expected to opt out of his player option with the Atlanta Hawks for next season and becomes a free agent.

Millsap, 32, had a terrific season with the Hawks. In 34 minutes per game last season, he averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He did so in a pretty efficient way, shooting 44.2 percent from the field. He also showed the ability to hit from deep, hitting 1.1 three-pointers per game. Millsap posted a 17.9 player efficiency rating, 2.9 above the league average of 15. Millsap showed he will be worth a good amount of money in the free agent market.

His terrific season was not just on the offensive end, Millsap excelled as a two-way player. In his time on the floor, he averaged 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. He also posted an exceptional 2.1 defensive box plus-minus. According to the sabermetrics, Millsap was actually a more effective player on the defensive end than he was on the offensive end last year.

Adding Millsap to the roster could create an exceptional duo with center Hassan Whiteside. Both players have the ability to be two-way players. It would create a type of rim-protection not seen anywhere in the league. Adding Millsap will also take pressure off of Whiteside on offense, making both players more efficient offensive players. Paul Millsap and Hassan Whiteside would be one of the best four, five duos in all of basketball.

Millsap would also take pressure off point guard Goran Gragic. One of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference last season, Gragic has room to improve as a passer. Adding an effective scorer in the paint would provide Gragic with more opportunities to cash in on some assists. Millsap could help make Gragic into an even better point guard for Miami next season.

The Heat need to look at the power forward position in free agency, and there is not a better two-way power forward on the free agent market than Paul Millsap. It is time for the Heat to return to being a contender in the Eastern Conference and acquiring Millsap would be a nice step in that direction.