Hawks’ Horford, Millsap, Teague named All-Star reserves
The Hawks have puzzled outsiders because in the superstar-driven NBA, they don’t have the single driving force. What they are is balanced, a hardwood egalitarianism.
That approach has driven Atlanta to the best record in the Eastern Conference, and now it’s given the Hawks three All-Star Game reserves in Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague.
The trio was named to the seven-man bench Thursday by the coaches, adding to a Hawks contingent heading to New York from Feb. 13-15 that also includes Mike Budenholzer (East coach), Kyle Korver (Three-Point Shootout) and Dennis Schroder (Rising Stars Challenge).
"It is an honor for our entire organization to have Al, Paul and Jeff selected to play on the All-Star stage," Budenholzer said. "The recognition is well-deserved for each of them. We are very proud of the guys, and also want to acknowledge the rest of our players and coaches for their roles in helping our players reach this accomplishment."
The Hawks trail only the 2006 Pistons and ’11 Celtics, who had four reserves each.
Joining Atlanta on the East bench will be the Chris Bosh (Heat), Jimmy Butler (Bulls), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) and Dwyane Wade (Heat), while the Western Conference includes the Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers), Tim Duncan (Spurs), James Harden (Rockets), Chris Paul (Clippers) and Klay Thompson (Warriors).
I appreciate the support from everybody thank you pic.twitter.com/ksWNWgfYt1
— Jeff Teague (@Teague0) January 30, 2015
— Paul Millsap (@Paulmillsap4) January 30, 2015
This is the third selection for Horford, following his 2010 and ’11 nods. The center, who played just 29 games last season before suffering a torn right pectoral muscle, is averaging 15.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He went on a tear in the final days before votes were due, pouring in 18.3 points and grabbing 8.1 boards over the last eight games.
"I feel honored to represent the Hawks and the city of Atlanta again," Horford said. "I want to give credit to our coaches and my teammates, as I know I wouldn’t be in this position without their support. I look forward to enjoying the time in New York and being a part of All-Star (Weekend)."
Millsap will be making his second straight All-Star appearance behind 17.2 points, 8.1 rebounds. He joins West starter Anthony Davis as the only players in the league with more than 15 points, eight rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks a game. He’s also hitting 3-pointers at a career-high clip (36.4).
"It’s a privilege to be an All-Star for the second straight year," Millsap said. "I know the success our team has had so far this season is a major factor, so my teammates and coaches are the reason that I have this opportunity. I’m proud to be representing them in New York."
For Teague, this nod is a culmination of an offseason agenda. In a video series called the "Teague Chronicles," the point guard said candidly "They’re going to learn to respect Jeff Teague."
He has the eighth-highest PER of any guard at 22.2 behind career highs in points (17), assists (7.5) and steals (1.7).
"I’d like to thank the Eastern Conference coaches," Teague said. "Being named to the All-Star team means a lot to me and to my family, and I’m going to truly enjoy the entire experience. I’m only as successful as the team, so my teammates and coaches share in this honor."
A case had been made for the Hawks to receive a fourth reserve in Korver, the East’s leader in 3-pointers made (140) and who is on pace for a historic 50/50/90 season in hitting at 51.8 percent from the field, 53.4 on 3s and 92.3 on free throws.
Instead, he’ll be part of a Three-Point Shootout field boasting five of the top seven players in made 3s in Portland’s Wesley Matthews (141), Thompson (136), Golden State’s Stephen Curry (126) and Clippers’ J.J. Redick (113).
This is the first time since 1979 with John Drew, Eddie Johnson and Dan Roundfield that the Hawks have had three All-Stars and the ninth time in franchise history.
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney