The Atlanta Hawks beat the New York Knicks on Sunday 142-139. A combination of highlights was with Paul Millsaptaking playing 60 minutes, tying the franchise record that hasn’t been set since 1982 according to USA Today Sports. But many have reported on Hawks’ center Dwight Howard (31) getting owned by Knicks player Kristaps Porzingis (21), who was reportedly getting revenge on Dwight for a dunk in overtime from last season, when Howard was playing for the Houston Rockets, according to NBC Sports.
Even the announcers back then had instigated the narrative saying that Dwight Howard was showing the “young fella” Porzingis what it was like to get dunked. Kristaps’ play on Dwight could also be seen as a bold declaration that it’s a “young fella’s game.”
Hawks’ Short Term Gems
The Atlanta Hawks roster for 2017 now includes Lamar Patterson (25), who had just passed a physical to play Sunday’s game against the New York Knicks. Only thing is that Patterson is currently under a 10-day contract with the team until February 7, when he will be free and likely be signed to a second 10-day contract.
According to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer hinted at a minor setback with Lamar Patterson, which could be what’s keeping him as a free contractor for now.
“He’s shown an ability to be a point guard and a wing. He’s been playing well in the D-League. He is a unique, special passer. I think he’s been working on his shot. His body looks a little better.”
We’re reminded that Patterson was a Hawk before when he was picked by the team during the 2014 NBA draft. Before this, he was playing for the Reno Bighorns in the NBA Development League.
While Gary Neal (32) also spent 10 days with the Atlanta Hawks — in contrast and before Patterson, but he’s not as young and so it would appear he was not signed again, likely because he might not have the staying power that the team needs to stay on top.
Even though there are plenty of professional athletes playing well into their 30’s, it’s unlikely the Atlanta Hawks were going to make him an offer to stay on longer. Especially, when the mentioned AJC report refers to the chance that Patterson could be signed up for even longer, if he’s signed to another 10-day contract after the Feb 7, in which case they would have no choice but to bring him onboard. SB Nation refers to the age difference in their report about Gary Neal.
Analyzing Atlanta Hawks Defense
Days before Sunday’s game, Dwight Howard was part of a post-game interview with Olivia Harlan, when he was recorded making “big D” jokes, which Dennis Schroder caught onto quickly, leaving Olivia at a loss for what the inside joke was. A quick look at the response from the sports announcers afterward, would suggest that they too were left guessing. The Fumble provides more context in their review of the video.
What Howard was referring to, however, was “d” for defense, which he said, “was good.” And while Atlanta Hawks are said to be dominating the league at the beginning of the year, they are currently 10-4 with one game left. One report by Fox Sports takes a look at the Atlanta Hawks roster with some help from a stats tool provided by the NBA, which takes from two to five-man lineups to see just how the team ranks, depending on the individual player stats. For their three-man lineup — which includes Dwight Howard — they came up with a lineup that is more consistent and with a 4.1 net rating.
Of course, it only makes sense that the addition of Dwight Howard to their lineup would only improve that breakdown, being that he’s among of the highest rated players in the league. But the breakdown is more about the Atlanta Hawks’ defense as opposed to their offense capabilities, which is why another combo with Dwight Howard ranks lower with Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder.
Much like the mentioned 10-day contracts with Neal and Patterson, the Inquisitr reported recently that there was a rumor Dwight Howard could be on the trade block to the Pelicans. The article suggests that the end of the Dwight Howard era could be near, giving a smaller Anthony Davis a better chance to stretch out.
[Featured Image by Jamie Lamor Thompson/Shutterstock]