They deserve some praise. The Hawks have won five of their last six games. They’ve ven scored 100 or mounts in eight of their last nine games. Thanks to that offensive burst, Atlanta is reaching the NBA’s top ten in terms of offensive production (ranked 12th best now).
Their biggest struggle has been on the glass. Through 55 games this season, the Hawks are bringing down 41 boards per contest, good for 26th in the league. Though their defensive rebounding rate (73.8%) is pretty average at about 14th best in the league, it’s their rate on the other side of the ball that hurts them. At 22.9%, the offensive rebounding rate is 26th in the NBA.
Outside of their rebounding trouble, Atlanta has been playing some good ball.
Their ball movement has been the engine driving the Hawks’ offense into elite categories. They’ve collected 1343 assists on the season, good for 5th best in the NBA. That kind of fluidity on offense has taken full advantage of the Hawks’ sneaky efficiency from the three point line. The prime example of that is Kyle Korver’s ridiculous 46% from three. He’s not just knocking down 1.4 out of 3.8 three’s or something. He’s taking six three pointers per game, hitting them at that insanely efficient rate.
The Hawks even have a sweet-stroking rookie in John Jenkins who is making his name in the league because of the ball movement. In his first year of NBA basketball, Jenkins is knocking down 40% of his threes. He’s only taking about two per game. But, all you need to see is Jenkins’ stroke to know that once he’s awarded minutes past the 12.9 mark, he’s going to break games open. In fact, the Hawks have started to experiment with line-ups that have Jenkins and Korver on the wings, a defensive liability that pays off in offensive volatility.
The Hawks are averaging 24.4 assists per game. They’ve got a relatively easy schedule to finish the season. They’ve still got Josh Smith. Can they make a deep enough run that not only sees them among the East’s elite, but also convinces J-Smoov to stay?
—Stats via Basketball-referece.com
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim.