HawksHoop http://hawkshoop.com The ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Atlanta Hawks Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:42:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 One Key To Success in 2017-18 for Every Atlanta Hawk http://hawkshoop.com/one-key-to-success-in-2017-18-for-every-atlanta-hawk/ http://hawkshoop.com/one-key-to-success-in-2017-18-for-every-atlanta-hawk/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:00:14 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11598 It’s no secret that that this is a transitional period for Atlanta.

Travis Schlenk steps in as the general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, replacing the reassigned Wesley Wilcox and Mike Budenholzer stepped down from his role as president to solely coach the team.

While it’s not quite a full-fledged youth movement, the young guns will certainly be featured.

Team success will take a backseat to individual player improvement so let’s look at one aspect of every Hawk’s game that they need to take to another level to have the franchise trending up by next summer.

Dennis Schröder: Be a leader

The speedy German has trekked a long path to arrive as de facto face of the franchise. A first round pick in 2013, he was buried on the bench as a rookie, but slowly became a more integral part of the team over the years. His minutes per game has risen every season, topping out at 31.5 in 2016-17, his first season as a starter.

He is the only Hawk on both ESPN’s and the Washington Post’s lists of the top 100 NBA players. He figures to have the ball in his hands as much as he wants.

Still, it hasn’t always been a smooth ascent. Dennis has been involved in a few on-court squabbles like a recent one with John Wall. In addition, he was arrested outside a hookah bar this offseason for his involvement in a fight. He has subsequently been disciplined for those actions.

Dennis has a flair for being flashy on and off the court, but on this youth-filled roster, he needs to be a cool-headed veteran and provide steady leadership. He’ll have plenty of rope to work through slumps on the court, unlike in season’s past, but after butting heads with Dwight Howard helping to lead to his unceremonious departure, Schröder will need to help others on the team break out of funks.

Kent Bazemore: Forget last year

Like Dennis, Kent came from modest beginnings. Atlanta was his first real chance at consistent minutes and he has produced some big moments in his short time here. He graduated from Hawks University, a moniker used to describe the process of molding raw athletic wings into 3-and-defense contributors.

After signing a 4-year, $70 million contract in the summer of 2016, expectations were high. Unfortunately, the season that followed was a disappointment as his shooting from 2-point range, 3-point range and free throw all fell significantly from the previous season.

In preseason action, he seems to have his usual bounce again. With the departures of Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway Jr., Baze is now thrusted into a role as a primary scorer and facilitator. He’ll have to step up in a major way to keep the Hawks in dogfights.

Taurean Prince: 3-and-defense

Taurean Prince has already proved a dogged competitor, willing to defend the other team’s best wing player. Listed at 6’8”, 220 lbs. and a 6’11 ½” wingspan per DraftExpress, the second year player from Baylor certainly has an NBA body and an NBA level of athleticism.

Prince was chosen by ESPN’s Mike Schmitz as a second-year breakout candidate because of that hard-nosed defense.

He will, however, need to up his 32.4 3PG% from last season to truly be a two-way player but as a fully enrolled sophomore in Hawks University, I imagine he’ll pass that exam with flying colors.

Ersan Ilyasova, Marco Belinelli, and Luke Babbitt: Flaunt trade value

I’m lumping these three together as all three are unlikely to end the season with the rebuilding retooling Atlanta Hawks.

Upon stepping on the court Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks, Ilyasova, Babbitt and Belinelli will have accrued a combined 29 years of service in the NBA, firmly entrenching them in veteran status. Ersan is the only returning player from last year’s team, however. Given that he started the final preseason game, there’s a strong chance he begins the regular season as the starter at the power forward spot.

Babbitt has shot 40.6% from three-point land in his career on 2.5 attempts per game and he’ll be a valuable stretch-4 in the short team just like Ilyasova. Belinelli is a secondary ball-handler and, yes you guessed it, spot-up shooter.

Coach Bud will feature them in roles whereby they space the floor, move without the ball and unselfishly swing the ball when needed. Still, don’t get too attached to them, fans. Their names will probably be floated in trade rumors as contenders may come calling near the trade deadline next calendar year.

The Hawks brass has had a priority on stockpiling future draft picks in any way possible. Ersan, Marco and Luke have all been packaged in trades before and know how to handle them as consummate professionals. I can’t imagine they would take rumors personally or let it affect their business on and off the court.

In the meanwhile, they’ll all provide valuable #veteranpresents in the locker room.

Dewayne Dedmon: Spacing out the offense

I have to admit, Dewayne Dedmon having no hesitation shooting threes was a development I did not see coming. He’s known more as a bruiser down low and an occasional rim runner, but stretch 5? From a player with one three-point attempt in his 224 game career? This is an experimental season for the Hawks so I’m all for thinking outside the box.

Ultimately this will allow the Hawks to play 5-out basketball with Muscala or Dedmon at center if his shooting is not merely a mirage. Threewayne Dedmon indeed.

Malcolm Delaney: Shooting

After starring at Virginia Tech, Delaney was passed over by the entire NBA in 2011 and chose to go to Europe to further his basketball career. His ultimate dream, however, was to be an NBA player and in 2016 he got that chance.

Sadly, he struggled to acclimate to the environment, shooting a poor 37.4% from the field and 23.6% from three. This comes from a guy who shot 40.8% from three overseas per RealGM (albeit behind an arc with different dimensions).

For the 28-year-old second year player, this is a new chance at a fresh start. There’s nothing to give me pause about his shot mechanics or shot selection from last season so hopefully the offseason will give Delaney renewed confidence to keep gunning.

Deandre’ Bembry: Cut down turnovers

Bembry is the swiss army knife that the Hawks have been missing since Josh Smith was throwing down windmill dunks in the Highlight Factory. His length clouds passing lanes and harasses shooters on defense and he is an adept ball handler and slasher on offense.

Unfortunately, Bembry has a tendency to try to make too many risky plays, which has meant a high turnover rate. While he only averaged 1.6 turnovers per 36 minutes last regular season in 371 minutes of play, that was when he shared the court with higher usage players.

For comparison, he had 42 turnovers in 415 minutes in combined summer league and preseason action the past two years per RealGM. That is a rate of 3.6 turnovers per 36 minutes, indicative of his play when he’s a focal point of the offense. If Mike Budenholzer can control the chaos, Deandre could take a major step forward this season with regular minutes.

John Collins: Defense

John Collins has already become something of a cult favorite in the Hawks fan communities. His dunking prowess has spawned nicknames such as John the Baptist, to which he has taken to favorably.

Lord Forgive Me….Things I don't Understand…….😔// Y'all like the nickname #JohnTheBaptist 🙏🏽?

A post shared by John Collins (@jcollins20_) on

(As part of Wake Forest’s basketball lineage, I’m personally partial to the nickname of “Tim Dunkin”. Alas). Still, at 6’10” and 225 lbs., Collins is fairly slight of frame and could struggle facing off against polished big men in the NBA. At times during summer league and preseason, he looked lost defending pick-and-rolls or one-on-one post-ups.

Collins will certainly bring some excitement to Philips Arena when he rises to throw down. But it’s the little things that improve a team like rolling and switching in-sync with your teammates. With more experience on the court, he will certainly gain that awareness. But for now, enjoy the dunking montages.

Mike Muscala: Top 20 minutes a game

Believe it or not, Moose is now the most tenured Hawk behind Dennis Schröder. At this juncture in his career he is who he is. He will come off the bench and provide energy on the boards and some outside shooting like he’s done for the last four seasons in Atlanta. Muscala has shot well from the field in his career (55.3 eFG%) on low volume and has averaged 7.5 rebounds per 36 minutes but has never topped 18 minutes a game. It’s time to see what he can do with big minutes.

Tyler Dorsey: Physicality and attacking rim

Tyler Dorsey had a knack for hitting big shots at the collegiate level playing for the Oregon Ducks. He was at his best during the latest NCAA tournament that saw him shoot an eye-popping 78% TS%. A second rounder in the 2017 draft, he’ll have to show he has a complete arsenal of moves against tougher competition. He measured in at 6’4″ and 180 lbs. per DraftExpress, so it will be important for him to fill his frame out and become more than just a long-range bomber.

Nicolás Brussino: Ball handling, passing and play making

Brussino is a skilled 6’8″ guard who can finish at the rim as well as shoot from the outside. He showed just as much in la Liga Nacional de Básquet, the top basketball league in Argentina, as well as with the Dallas Mavericks last season. But the NBA is trending more and more toward taller ball handlers. He has some ability and vision to make difficult passes, but it’s just a matter of increasing his confidence with live NBA action.

Still, he only had 3.2 assists per 36 minutes with Dallas last season and largely looked shaky when asked to create off the dribble. He’ll be asked to come off the bench and provide energy with spot play this year, and being aggressive will go a long way toward his development.

Miles Plumlee: Improved health

Miles has had quite a tumultuous offseason. First he was included in a trade that sent Dwight Howard to Charlotte. Then he was arrested for possession of marijuana in New York. Finally, it was announced that he would miss the start of the season with a strained right quad. Plumlee struggled with injuries a year ago as well, playing in only 45 games between the Bucks and Hornets.

At his best, he’s a capable bench big man with touch around the basket. But he’s three seasons removed from his best year as a professional, and his current contract is too much of an albatross to move without including assets. This first few weeks of the season will be used as rehab to get him back into playing condition, but hopes are that the Hawks can also rehabilitate his value on the court.

Isaiah Taylor: Slash, slash and slash some more

Just within the last 24 hours, the Hawks signed a recently waived Isaiah Taylor to a partially guaranteed contract. He’ll likely step in as the third-string point guard, but in time he may see the court. Taylor is a speed demon for sure, and the Hawks have had a poor time the last two seasons creating offense off their slashing and kicking. Taylor probably is not be the answer to that woe but there’s little risk in seeing if he is.

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John Collins: Parents’ military background gives rookie unique perspectives http://hawkshoop.com/john-collins-parents-military-background-sports-protests/ http://hawkshoop.com/john-collins-parents-military-background-sports-protests/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:14:16 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11587

By Jeremy Johnson

The world changed forever on September 11, 2001. As the world watched as the events of that day unfolded, a young John Collins too pondered the impact that the world’s deadliest terrorist attack would have on his life.

For Collins, 9/11 was 12 days away from his 4th birthday, and he had a hard time understanding just what the events meant. He does remember the results of that day as they shifted Collins from his address from Turkey to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Collins’ mother was in the Navy and was stationed in Turkey at the time of the attacks. As the country prepared for war, Collins’ mother sent him to live with his grandparents in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands after the base in Turkey was evacuated.

“It’s kind of crazy and stuff happens, my mom’s a trouper,” Collins said. “I think I was really too young to understand what was going on at the time. It really didn’t hit me as hard as other people, which is kind of crazy to think about.”

Throughout the time in between then all the way until the Hawks selected Collins with the 19th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Collins has moved around and as other rookie players adjust to living far from home for the first time while also making the social adjustment that comes with changing cities, Collins has already dealt with many types of people and socially feels he can get along with anyone.

Adjusting to the different personalities and connecting with people isn’t the only thing that Collins learned from growing up in a military atmosphere at home.

“At a young age I got used to [moving and traveling] and I actually kind of like it,” Collins said. “I don’t know why going to different places gives me different perspectives in mind. It also helped me socially, not having a group of friends and having to be able to talk and moving my way through people constantly. It’s helped me a lot.”

The professionalism and discipline Collins now carries himself with began with a strict upbringing at home. Collins admits his mother was strict, but he now appreciates where that learned discipline has carried him.

“My mom and my dad actually split up really early so it was a single parent household and my mom, it was really strict, a little different living in a military household, traveling all around the world at a young age,” Collins said. “It definitely gave me perspective as a little kid… It’s something that molds right together is that discipline and tolerance that comes with being a military kid and growing up in that military lifestyle and turning that into professionalism. I’ve become a true pro, though I’m trying to learn my way, I’m still a rookie and I’ve got things to learn. It’s part of the process. Becoming a true professional and a true one day in and day out.”

Today, the world goes through another set of changes with the world of sports caught in the middle of a bit of a revolution as teams, athletes and the media outlets that cover them go back and forth on how to protest the police brutality and social injustices that plague the country. The country appears divided on standing or kneeling for the national anthem. The form of protest has been a dividing factor the past few weeks after President Donald Trump’s comments.

As Collins enters his rookie season in the NBA the debate hits home, but he thinks the correct response and form of protest is based on the individual. Collins thinks everyone has a right to voice their opinion in the manner they find fit.

“I think it really just varies from person to person and how they feel about the topic,” Collins said. “That person can have a difference in opinion when it comes to how they feel if it respects the flag or doesn’t respect the flag and I think it’s all about finding your way to correctly do it and express it the way you want to express it. I think once that’s found out and fulfilled it up to them how they express their opinion. For me, I’m a military kid, so it’s always close to home when you start talking about stuff like that.”

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Dennis Smith Jr tests the Hawks’ ability to defend dynamic PGs http://hawkshoop.com/2017-18-preseason-hawk-94-mavs-108/ http://hawkshoop.com/2017-18-preseason-hawk-94-mavs-108/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:29:42 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11567 A great defense adapts to any and every sort of offensive attack. Coach Budenholzer and staff will keep their foot on the necks of this young team all season long on giving a strong effort defensively. Guys like Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore and Dewayne Dedmon are in the starting lineup for that very reason. However, even as disciplined as those pieces are, how do you counter point guards with an athletic gene we all wish we possessed like Russell Westbrook and John Wall? Now add Dennis Smith to that list.

In Thursday night’s108-94 preseason finale loss to the Dallas Mavericks they were reminded what problems it can cause.

“It really changes the dynamic of the game when you have a scoring point guard, an aggressive point guard,” said Kent Bazemore. “Because you have to be honest. They have a good team. A well coached team and they execute to a T. He picked us apart early and picked his spots on when to attack in transition. He found guys out of the pick and roll. He made some really good passes from what I saw. He is ahead of his time. He is an under amour guy so I definitely have a little love for him.”

Dynamic point guards like Smith have a knack for not only forcing you to adjust, but wearing you down mentally. The amount of attention to detail they require is a tall task. Relentlessly demanding all five defenders to account for their talents. It’s almost unfair… matter of fact, it is unfair and downright brutal.

John Wall was a force in last years playoffs when he torched the Hawks for 29 points and 10 assists a game. The Hawks did everything to load up the defense to whatever side of the court he had the ball on. They gave him different looks each game. Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore all took a shot at him — but to no avail. Dennis Schröder even began to guard him full court to disrupt Wall’s flow–didn’t change the outcome.

Dennis Smth Jr has those exact capabilities to force a team to completely shuffle their deck. He throws a wrench into the works and then some. But, better for the Hawks to get a glimpse of him now before next Wednesday’s season opener in Dallas.

“He’s an impressive athlete,” said Coach Budenholzer. “The way he can get to the paint. His overall command of the game. Haven’t seen a ton of him but the little that I saw of him tonight was impressive. They have a good young point guard and he should continue to grow and improve under coach Carlisle.”

Athletic point guards are a pain to deal with. For a Hawks team that will rely a ton on their effort and chemistry — now more than ever before — these type of guards will be a tough, if not the toughest task to face this season.

However, if defense is Atlanta’s calling, then they will need to figure it out, because the era of the athletic point guard is in and it’s not going to stop in order to help the Hawks.

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Hawks starting to find some chemistry ahead of 2017-18 season http://hawkshoop.com/hawks-starting-to-find-some-chemistry-ahead-of-2017-18-season/ http://hawkshoop.com/hawks-starting-to-find-some-chemistry-ahead-of-2017-18-season/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:40:31 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11523 Preseason to some may seem boring and meaningless. However, within it lies bits and pieces of winning basketball that originates from chemistry and cohesiveness. Atlanta is one of the younger teams in the league — these games carry plenty of value towards starting the year off playing quality basketball.

As always, defense is the priority under Coach Budenholzer, but breeding fruitful offensive habits are far from an afterthought.

“I feel like we are getting a little bit more into our offense,” said Taurean Prince. “We realize the multiple options we can get out of a lot of sets in a lot of things that we do. I feel like in the first few games we were keeping it simple and trying to get used to each other. But now we are starting to get into the spring of things and how deep we can get. I think we can be hard to guard.”

In Monday’s 100-88 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, they showed improvement offensively, and it didn’t have to appear in the box score. Yes, they finished shooting 45-percent from the field, but that’s not the sole purpose of this discussion Setting good hard picks and sound ball movement tends to facilitate positive energy that finds good shots. Doing things like trusting a teammate will shift towards his designated area at the right time for an open shot or keep the floor balanced demonstrates reliance and helps sustain fluidity.

When players don’t trust in one another is when the offense tends to stagnate. But, once guys begin to find comfort in their role is when good things begin to happen. These Hawks are headed in that direction and only time will tell if they reach their aspired destination. For the meantime, acknowledge the small victories along the way veteran Kent Bazemore knows all to well and has recognized the progress in just a few games.

“So the first game we played there was a ton of standing and too much thinking,” said Kent Bazemore. “Now I think we are starting to get players moving into the right spot. As you saw tonight with so many assists, we had. We did a good job of passing the ball and making plays for each other. Now we are starting to be a little more fluid offensively and getting shots out of it.”

The offensive system has proven to be conducive to winning over the years. The players, returning and new, must believe not only in the system but each other. Cliche? Not considering how many new faces fill this year’s locker room. Good news is according to DeAndre Bembry concerning off the court comradery– the new are mixing well with the old like a Bruno Mars record.

For a youthful team like Atlanta that will pay off immensely when the flight gets a little rocky later in the season.

“We have always had the right habits,” said DeAndre Bembry. “Especially the starters like Dewayne Dedmon coming from San Antonio and just playing the right way. Making the right pass. We all get a long with each other. We have no problems off the court. We all know what we need to do in order to be good. But us being cool off the court is where it starts and makes it way towards the court when we play together.”

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Road-weary Hawks come ‘home’ for win against Memphis http://hawkshoop.com/road-weary-hawks-come-home-for-win-against-memphis/ http://hawkshoop.com/road-weary-hawks-come-home-for-win-against-memphis/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:35:02 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11536

If there were an experiment to further understand the effects of road weariness, the Atlanta Hawks would be the subject.

The Hawks finally played a ‘home’ preseason game Monday night that was only a home game in the sense that is was played in the city of Atlanta. The Hawks defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 100-88 in the penultimate game of the preseason.

The Hawks will play again Thursday at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion before a few days of practice and rest before heading out on the road for five straight road games.

The Hawks are the only team in the NBA with home opener later than Oct.27 as Phillips Arena undergoes its final stages of the first phase of a two-phase renovation.

Travel of the NBA is typical, but even so, starting the season with as much travel as the Hawks have endured have playing having to adjust as veterans like forward Kent Bazemore tries to pass his knowledge down to the many young players the Hawks have. Bazemore admits the road-life gets tough and things as simple as a home cooked meal and bed become a luxury when the team gets time off or plays at home.

“It kind of mimics what we’ve got going on to start the season on that last road trip we had, but you’ve to take it a day at a time,” Bazemore said. “One thing you kind of miss on the road is a home cooked meal and your own bed. It’s good to be back home for a little bit and enjoy that. It comes with the territory, you’ve just got to be smart. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of veterans in front of me how to optimize the rest on the road. I’m trying to share that with some of these young guys.”

For a rookie like John Collins, Monday was the first time he got to hear Ryan Cameron’s ‘Jam’ call whenever a Hawks’ player throws down a dunk. Collins was excited to play in front of his fans for the first time.

“I thought it was cool, we had a nice little road trip in preseason to start off, so it’s been good for us,” Collins said. “It’s always good to see that crowd cheering when you score a bucket. It felt good to get some energy.”

With 11 new players on the roster as of Monday, the Hawks needed to get to acquainted. The time the group has spent together has been a bit of a blessing for players to not only get a feel for what one another can do on the court but also get to know the guys and make some off the floor connections.

“We spent a ton of time together on the road, whether it be at dinner or just hanging out and playing video games,” Bazemore said. “It’s just good to kind of get that bonding time on the road. We had training camp and we came home for like a day and a half, but we’ve kind of been around each other for a little bit and kind of feeling each other out off the court and it’s starting to show on the court as well.”

After Thursday’s final preseason contest against the Dallas Mavericks, the Hawks will have five days before facing the Mavericks again in regular season-opener in Dallas. The Hawks first five games are on the road. Phillips Arena is scheduled to reopen on Friday, Oct. 27 as the Hawks host the Denver Nuggets.

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Postgame Report: Hawks grab their second preseason victory, defeating the Grizzlies 100-88 http://hawkshoop.com/postgame-report-hawks-grab-their-second-preseason-victory-defeating-the-grizzlies-100-88/ http://hawkshoop.com/postgame-report-hawks-grab-their-second-preseason-victory-defeating-the-grizzlies-100-88/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 04:13:32 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11533 ]]> http://hawkshoop.com/postgame-report-hawks-grab-their-second-preseason-victory-defeating-the-grizzlies-100-88/feed/ 0 NBA GMs rob Mike Budenholzer of defensive praise http://hawkshoop.com/nba-gms-rob-mike-budenholzer-of-defensive-praise/ http://hawkshoop.com/nba-gms-rob-mike-budenholzer-of-defensive-praise/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 14:26:54 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11483 The 2017-18 NBA GM surveys are out, which means: let the arguments commence. Similar to all-star voting, the survey tends to slight at least one person. This year, that would be Atlanta Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. The question posed: Which head coach has the best defensive schemes? Budenholzer received no votes.

It was a surprising omission, to say the least, given what Budenholzer has accomplished in just four years as the head coach. Budenholzer’s Hawks teams have averaged a 104.15 defensive rating and have never finished no lower than seventh in opponent points in the paint per game over the last three seasons. His tactics intertwine with the strengths of his players and that in itself should be a respected capability. Paul Millsap not only logged his best career numbers offensively under Budenholzer, but Bud’s system resulted in a 2.9 defensive box plus/minus average for ‘Sap over his four years—he averaged 1.9 in Utah for seven seasons.

The same can be said for a defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha and sharpshooter Kyle Korver, both of whom recorded their best DBPM in Bud’s system, which involves a heavy dose of ball trapping by the guards/wings. Longtime Hawk Al Horford played six seasons before Budenholzer’s arrival and has always been among the best defensive players at his position. However, he didn’t notch his highest defensive win shares until the 2015-16 season.

The examples are endless, but we can’t ignore how much reputation plays a role in the voting. Gregg Popovich’s mystic is one so strong that it’s plausible his accomplishments are the only reason he came in first over Budenholzer, especially after the two spent 17 years side by side, the former the boss of the latter, on San Antonio’s bench. However, Atlanta’s defensive scheme is as demanding as Popovich’s—or Thibodeau’s, the second place finisher of that GM question—and I can assure you that no player will touch the floor without giving an all-out effort on the defensive side of the ball—just ask any Hawks rookie over the last four years.

Defense comes first and foremost in Atlanta, which has resulted in opponents shooting just 43.8 percent from the field over the last three seasons. Yes, the Hawks did struggle guarding the three-point line last season, but a look at Budenholzer’s entire tenure as Atlanta’s coach and you would see that his average opponent three-point percentage is among the lowest in the league. He’s won at a high level—a 57 percent winning record to be exact—and a lot of that has to do with how attuned his ballclub is on the defensive end. Just nine current coaches have a higher winning percentage than Budenholzer. Out of that group, only two have finished with a top-five defensive rating more than once over the last four seasons—Popovich and Kerr. Only six of those coaches have had longer head coaching experience.

Defense is his staple, and he’s damn good at it. Whenever the Hawks experience a rough stretch of games, I assure you the following practices will be focused on defense, defense, defense—revisiting defensive principles and adjustments, re-examining defensive roles, etc. The lineups may change, but the defensive principles will be the same this season, as it always is—swarming, tricky and suffocating.

 

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Top 10 Best In-Game Poster Dunks in Hawks History http://hawkshoop.com/top-10-best-in-game-poster-dunks-in-hawks-history/ http://hawkshoop.com/top-10-best-in-game-poster-dunks-in-hawks-history/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 23:09:03 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11444 Philips Arena has rightfully earned the nickname “The Highlight Factory” from all the spectacular plays that have echoed from the arena, all the way down Peachtree Street. I remember, when I was a younger man, watching Dikembe Mutombo deny more potential highlights than I could count. However, recently, it dawned on me just how many Hawks have completed a jaw-dropping, otherworldly poster.

So I decided to come up with the list you see below. Enjoy.

10. Jeff Teague over Kevin Durant

Scene: November 5, 2012, at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Two minutes left in the second quarter.

Jeff Teague: “Easy lane to the basket.”

Kevin Durant: “Oh, its just Jeff Teague. I’m blocking this with ease. This finna be a breeze!”

Jeff Teague:

9. Josh Smith mimics Kobe Bryant and Ricky Davis by flushing one on Steve Nash.

Nash has dished out plenty of L’s in his Hall of Fame career, but we shouldn’t forget his blunders. He meant well, but that doesn’t mean it always ended well. Three posters that I can recall and every one of them ended with a Nash receiving a blocking foul. Good Lord.

 

8. Al Horford skies over Kevin Love (Round 2, Game 3 of the 2016 Playoffs).

Al Horford literally sat on Love’s shoulder; take note of how Love’s teammates didn’t even venture near the crime scene. When you get boomed on you are on your own–that’s the code.

 

7. Paul Millsap over John Henson

Trillsap sent Henson back to UNC with this banger. Made the kid re-enroll with a double major and a full-time job just to forget his past life. What a shame.

 

6.  Bradley Beal meet Mike Scott–Mike Scott meet Bradley Beal.

Dominique said it best here: “What are you doing?” And to Beal’s credit, he did the right thing—just at the wrong time.

5. More Mike Scott, this time on Ian Mahinmi’s head.

 

4. Dominique Wilkins over everybody

 

3. Not a poster, but Spud Webb’s dunk against Magic & the Lakers deserves praise. Truly astonishing.

 

2.  Josh Smith dunks on Serge Ibaka

 

1. Dominique double clutched off two feet, while contorting his body mid air and finished with authority. Greatness.

 

 

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Observation: Hawks Debut New Offense in 96-90 loss vs the Miami Heat http://hawkshoop.com/observation-hawks-debut-new-offense-in-96-90-loss-vs-the-miami-heat/ http://hawkshoop.com/observation-hawks-debut-new-offense-in-96-90-loss-vs-the-miami-heat/#respond Mon, 02 Oct 2017 02:56:32 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11434 Pace, pace and more pace would describe the new style Mike Budenholzer wants his ballclub to showcase. A new offense with a young roster also means more mistakes—especially in the early part of preseason. In the first half of their first preseason game with the Miami Heat, the Hawks accumulated 11 ill-advised turnovers, but cleaned up in the second half with just five. Dennis Schroder and Dewayne Dedmon lead the way with 12 points apiece, followed by Marco Belinelli with 10 and the rookie John Collins posting a near double-double with nine points and 15 rebounds.

There is a good chance you may be asking yourself: “What’s new with the offense?” It’s simple—the Hawks have now installed a 5-out motion offense into their system. It is a positionless offense that relies on spacing the floor and a set of rules that determine one’s movements and actions. This offense caters to the strengths of an athletic team like Atlanta by opening up more lanes to the basket for Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore and others. Ball movement is essential to the success of this style of offense, but that has always been a part of Budenholzer’s primary teaching since he arrived in Atlanta and therefore his message shouldn’t cause any confusion.

 

 

A first look at this offense on Sunday night yielded a positive result: more urgency and tempo earlier in the shot clock. Budenholzer’s troops have been instructed to scan the defense and attack without hesitation. The responsibilities for the guards have grown substantially this season—especially Schroder—with the departure of Paul Millsap and his reliability, offensively, in the post. It appears that Schroder—and every other ball handler on the team—is instructed to act early in the shot clock, either by penetrating off a pick-and-roll or off a handoff from a big man.

Schroder dominated the ball most of his time on the floor (and will most of the season) and drew the majority of Miami’s focus. Despite the fact that, in theory, the 5-out offense should keep multiple bodies off of Schroder, opening up the floor for shooters, the Hawks didn’t convert with much efficiency.

GM Travis Schlenk has routinely spoken about the merits of flexibility and positionless basketball over the offseason. By installing this offense, Budenholzer shows he’s on board with Schlenk’s vision and willing to cater to the strengths of his players.

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Next Game: October 4th at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:00PM EST

Follow me on Twitter for Atlanta Hawks coverage: @YeboahNBA

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1 on 1 Interview with Kent Bazemore http://hawkshoop.com/1-on-1-interview-with-kent-bazemore/ Tue, 12 Sep 2017 18:32:32 +0000 http://hawkshoop.com/?p=11430

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