Atlanta Hawks Mailbag: Hawks At The Break

Ab Stanley

The NBA All-Star break is upon us and every team will use this time to regroup and heal from injuries. The Atlanta Hawks find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. With 23 games left, let’s see how the Hawks have come along this season.

Front Office Grade: C

Atlanta has made no moves in the way of getting better for the 2017-2018. A mix of free agent departures at the beginning of the season, coupled with moves that only seem to gain more cap space has left the Hawks spinning their wheels. The Hawks are seemingly looking towards the future with all of it’s roster moves. A buyout of veteran Marco Belinelli and a heavy push to trade Ersan Ilyasova at the deadline would get rid of any players that have more than five years experience in the league. They have done well in the draft and will need to continue that if they want to snag a big free agent in the future.

Coaching Grade: B

Mike Budenholzer has done everything he can to squeeze out Wis this seasons. The win-loss totals are awul, but to no fault of his. He makes good rotations and he calls plays that suit his better players. Coach “Bud” is simply towing the company line, focused more on the development of his younger players.

The Hawks average 103.7 points per game, which ranks them 13th amongst all NBA teams. Their opponents score 107.8 and that is good for 27th rank defensively. If they get some better execution down the stretch of games they could have significantly more wins. The number of thee pointers they shoot (30.1) is nearly identical to the number of threes their opponents shoot (30.0). The team defense needs improvement and that should be the main focus for team play down the stretch.

Development Grade: B+

This is an area the Hawks are excelling at despite their mediocre record. With rookie John Collins and second year man Taurean Prince, Atlanta has found two NBA starters at the very least.

Collins, the. 6′ 10″ forward out of Wake Forest University is averaging 10.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. His head coach likened his game to former NBA all-star Amare Stoudamire. He’s found ways to be productive off the bench and will probably get more starts to close out the season. Collins has a real chance to be something special.

Prince has had a strong second season in Atlanta averaging 12.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. The 6’8″ swingman can defend effectively and score as well. He’s a pretty good shooter from long range too, hitting for a pretty good (.368) clip from three. Prince is the only player on the Hawks to suit up in all 59 games (all starts) this season.

They both participated in the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge. Collins finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot. Prince finished with eight points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal, as the USA team lost to the Word team 155-124.

Star Power Grade: C

Dennis Shroeder has improved a few of his numbers this season. He’s averaging 19.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. A quick first step and a plethora of finishing moves at the basket, Shroeder can get hot in a heartbeat. Shroeder’s shooting percentages have gone down, with him taking the lion’s share of shots. He is a good leading man, but it’s clear he would be a number two or three on a team with more wins.

With three quarters of the seasons already completed most teams in the NBA will trend in the direction they are now. Unfortunately for the Hawks they are trending down. If their sole purpose is to rebuild for the future they are taking the right steps to do so.

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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