The Atlanta Hawks have been a disappointment this year, so far.
Atlanta wasn’t expected to compete for the Eastern Conference championship, but their inconsistency, particularly on the offensive end, has been staggering. The Hawks are currently in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference with a 16-16 on the season. They are 8-7 against teams with a.500 or better record with wins over Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, and Oklahoma City.
Atlanta began the season winning nine of their first 11 games as the Hawks topped the century mark on nine occasions. In the 21 games since, the Hawks have failed to score 100 points 12 times. They are 14-4 when reaching the 100 point mark.
The Hawks are the 21st highest-scoring team in the league, averaging 101.5 points a game. They have five players averaging double-figures, and are 12th in the league in shooting percentage (45.4 percent). Point guard Dennis Schroder is having a career year, averaging 17.6 points a game, while shooting 46.6 percent from the field, and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc – he is making 1.3 triples a game. Paul Millsap (17.1 ppg), Dwight Howard (14.5), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (11.0), and Kent Bazemore (10.1) are the other players averaging double-figures.
The Hawks biggest problems on the offensive end are three-point shooting, free throw shooting, and turnovers. The Hawks are 21st in the league with 8.5 three-point makes a game and 29th in three-point percentage at 32.6 percent. They shoot the 19th most free throws in the league (22.7), but only make the 25th most (22.7) and are 28th in free throw percentage (71.9 percent). In addition, Atlanta commits 16 turnovers a game (27th) at a 16.1 percent clip (28th).
One player that was supposed to help with the Hawks perimeter shooting was rookie Taurean Prince, but he has struggled. And as a result of his struggles, the Hawks sent Prince to the the Long Island Nets of the D-League today, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. This is the 6-foot-8 small forward’s first trip to the D-League and it reportedly may last a while.
Prince averaged 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 10 minutes a game over 20 contests for the Hawks. He shot just 39.1 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc. The Hawks acquired the No. 12 overall selection from the Utah Jazz as part of the trade that sent Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers.
In other news, the Hawks may look to unload some veterans if they fall out of playoff contention. The Hawks have seven players who will be free agents this summer. These players include Millsap, Kyle Korver, Tiago Splitter, Kris Humphries, Mike Scott, and Mike Muscala. Everyone, except Millsap, will be an unrestricted free at the end of the season. Millsap has a $21.4 million early-termination option that will likely be exercised. In addition, Hardaway, Jr., will become a restricted free agent as long as the Hawks offer him the $3.3 million qualifying offer that he is entitled to.
Vivlamore believes that Korver and Sefolosha are the most likely to move prior to the trade deadline. He added that he doesn’t see the team making a major move unless the team completely falls out of playoff contention.
Korver is a valuable commodity due to his shooting prowess. While Korver struggled as a starter, he has thrived since being demoted to the bench earlier this month. The 35-year-old wing is averaging 11.0 points, on 43.9 percent shooting from the field, including 45.8 percent on three-point attempts in eight games off the bench. He also is averaging 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 27.8 minutes a game. In comparison as a starter, Korver averaged 8.5 points, on 39.1 percent three-point shooting, and 2.4 rebounds along with 2.2 rebounds in 28.2 minutes over 21 games.
Korver averages 10 points and two triples a game, while shooting 42.6 percent on his three-point attempts for his career. He has a career.568 effective field goal percentage and a.579 true shooting percentage. Korver is ranked eighth on the NBA’s all-time career list in most three-pointers made in his career (1,945), eighth in highest three-point percentage, 22nd in best true shooting percentage, and 13th effective shooting percentage.
Sefolosha is “3-D”specialist who is on the downswing of his career, though he is experiencing a little revitalization of sorts this year. The 32-year-old wing is currently averaging 8.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.7 assists. He is shooting 48.0 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from beyond the arc.
[Featured Image by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]