Archives For DeMarre Carroll

The Atlanta Hawks’ 2015-16 is now officially over, meaning the journey that they set out on — when training camp began — has ended, at least for another season. And when a journey ends, one gets reflective and casts an eye back to when the journey began and upon the journey itself, armed with the knowledge that they did not have when the journey started. So, let’s do exactly that today. Let’s cast an eye back on the 2015-16 Atlanta Hawks season.

The big story heading into the Hawks’ season was that DeMarre Carroll had left Atlanta for pastures new north of the border, to be a part of the Toronto Raptors. I don’t think there was any question that the Hawks wanted to keep DeMarre, but his breakout season and his great playoff run meant that he priced himself out of a return to Atlanta, who could not afford to keep both him and Paul Millsap, with the Hawks only reserving the Early Bird Rights as both had only been with the Hawks for two seasons.

The Hawks did not sign a wing to replace Carroll, knowing that either Thabo Sefolosha (once he recovered from his leg injury) and the developing Kent Bazemore would be more than capable to step up in his absence. However, as both of these guys were bench players while Carroll was at the club, the Hawks’ bench would take a hit from either Thabo or Bazemore — obviously — needing to leave the bench in order to step into the starting lineup. So, the Hawks traded for some wing depth on draft night, sending the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft to acquire Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr., in a move that certainly raised eyebrows.

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The Atlanta Hawks avoided a regular season series sweep against the Toronto Raptors with a 95-87 victory at Philips Arena last night. The win doesn’t change the overall complexion of the season series — the Raptors winning the series 3-1 — but it was a good note to end the season series on.

The Raptors were led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan’s, who both scored 16 points apiece, while the Hawks were led by Jeff Teague’s 23 point outing and Paul Millsap’s double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Quick playoff seeding implications…

Last night’s victory kept the Hawks in third place in the East, however, the Miami Heat picked up a big win last night against the Bulls to keep the pressure on the Hawks. The Heat play the Magic in Orlando tonight on the second night of a back-to-back, and the Hawks will have to hope that the Heat drop a game if they want to remain as the third seed, as the Heat own the tiebreaker over the Hawks.

In saying that, the Hawks have to focus on their own schedule, and there may not be a bigger game than Saturday’s home tilt against the Boston Celtics, who are right behind the Hawks in the standings.

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The Atlanta Hawks’ 2014-15 season is a well documented season and one that is immortalised by Hawks fans. A franchise record 60 regular season wins, four players named to the All-Star team, an unbeaten January, a Coach of the Year award, and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. While being swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t the note the Hawks would’ve liked to have finished their season on, it was still a hugely successful season that created the largest buzz surrounding the Atlanta Hawks (arguably) since the playing days of Hall of Famer, and Hawks legend, Dominique Wilkins.

Turn the clock forward 9 months later and there are rumours floating around that the Hawks are considering trades for Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, and even franchise cornerstone Al Horford at the trade deadline. If you were to travel back this time last year, you would never think these rumours would arise so soon after such a successful season.

So, to start off, why have these rumours surfaced?

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The Hawks entered the offseason with a problem almost any team would gladly accept: too many players outperformed expectations. By virtue of signing Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll each to contracts two summers ago that were swiftly proved as club-favorable, the Hawks had a salary cap crunch in trying to re-sign them both.

The duo’s two year deals had both expired, removing the team’s use of Bird Rights that requires three years with the same team to shoot past the salary cap to re-sign free agents. Market value deals in free agency ballooned with the rising cap, as teams were suddenly flush with cap space to match their deep pockets as the result of an upcoming luxurious national TV deal for the league.

Given that DeMarre was both recovering from a knee injury and wholly justified in looking to cash in off his rapid ascent from fringe rotation player just two seasons prior, a team-friendly discount was out of the question. Carroll would quickly ink a 4 year, $60 million deal with the Toronto Raptors soon after the calendar turned to the 2015-16 NBA season on the heels of postseason averages of 14.6 points per game and 40.3 percent from three. This was all despite a sagging Hawks offense around him from March onward. Continue Reading…

DeMarre Carroll’s short time with the Atlanta Hawks has come to an end. In an announcement on Twitter/Instagram, in really the most DeMarre Carroll way possible, he announced that he will be joining the Toronto Raptors.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports had details on the deal.

This is a big moment for Carroll, whom spent the early parts of his career very injured. When the Hawks signed him, he was mainly expected to be a perimeter guard that could add depth to the wing spot. Nobody predicted him turning into a major 3-and-D threat that could punish defenses for not paying attention to him. Throughougt his time in Atlanta, the Carroll has gained the reputation as not only one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders, but also one of the most versatile players on the roster. His box score numbers may be low, but anybody that watched Atlanta knows how important he was to the Hawks success. Fans will miss him.

hh-logo-DRAFTThe third prospect due for a draft profile is Kansas’ freshman, Kelly Oubre. The small forward has been projected to go anywhere from 10 to 18 in this year’s draft.

Bio:

Small Forward, 6’6.75, 203 lbs. Freshman, University of Kansas, 19 years old

2014-15 college stats:

11 minutes, 9.3 points, 44.4 FG%, 35.8 3P%, 71.8 FT%, 0.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks, 21.1 PER.

Strengths:

One of the most raw prospects in the top 20 is Kelly Oubre. Oubre was one of the most highly recruited high school prospects last year, but never really lived up to the hype at Kansas. Although Oubre only averaged 21 minutes per game, we were able to catch glimpses of the player that he could be. For example, in his limited time, the lefty averaged five rebounds a game, good for about 8.5 a game per 36 minutes. This would have put him as one of the top rebounders for his position, better than both Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow.

Being 19 and extremely raw also means there is a lot of potential for Oubre. He was able to shoot 35.8 percent from three, grab five rebounds a game, and nab at least a steal a game, all in 21 minutes. Per 36 minutes, Oubre would have averaged about two steals a game. He has the height and wingspan — just over 7’2 — as well as the athletic ability to be able to guard shooting guards and small forwards in the NBA. His wingspan not only helps him reach in for steals, but it’s also incredibly useful for closeouts and blocking shots. Continue Reading…

The Hawks’ season just ended yesterday, meaning that the team has officially entered the offseason. That begs one question: what do the Hawks need to do to rebound for the 2015-16 season? What are the team’s weaknesses? Who is available for the Hawks to sign?

The way to answer those first two questions is with a status report of where the Hawks are right now. The following Hawks will be free agents this offseason:

Paul Millsap
DeMarre Carroll
Pero Antic (restricted)
John Jenkins
Elton Brand

Jenkins is likely gone and it appears as if Brand is preparing for retirement. Judging by his status in the Hawks’ rotation in games 3 and 4 of the series against the Cavs, Antic could be on his way out as well. Other factors to consider here are the recovery times for Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha, the play of Mike Scott in the playoffs, and Millsap’s own potential surgery in the offseason.

With all of that in mind, the Hawks will have money that needs to be spent addressing the wing and big positions. One thing that became abundantly clear in the playoffs is that there is no such thing as having too many shooters on the roster. Korver’s cold streak and subsequent absence was a major blow for the Hawks, and while Kent Bazemore made an admirable effort to step in, it was soon clear that the Hawks could use more shooting from the bench. Dennis Schröder is not a shooter (more shots than points in the playoffs) and Mike Scott became too streaky — in addition to his bad defense — to be a reliable option.

The other obvious weakness for the Hawks in the postseason was rebounding. Horford and a less-than-100% Millsap usually held their own, but the bench options of Antic and Scott were not the kind of guys that could remedy rebounding issues whenever the Hawks were in a rut. This issue was amplified upon Sefolosha’s injury, as he provided a rebounding boost from the small forward position when he was on the court. (8.2 rebounds per 36 minutes)

Of course, an important concept to remember here is how the Hawks play. Coach Mike Budenholzer preaches pace and space on offense, and activity, quick hands, and awareness on defense. The best fits for the Hawks are going to be players that exhibit most or all of these attributes.

Finally, something that sticks out heavily, is the salary cap. I will not go into all of the Hawks’ salary cap specifics here, but suffice to say, the Hawks will have money to spend in the offseason. Also important is the NBA’s new TV deal that will start with the 2016-17 season, which will likely send the salary cap soaring to at least $85 million. Because of these, teams may be willing to overpay for free agents this year, as they know those contracts will not be as large of a hit to their cap in the future. Combating that will be whether or not players desire long-term contracts, as they may opt for shorter contracts to take advantage of the future cap spike.

Taking all of that into consideration, I present my free agent targets for the Atlanta Hawks.

YOU PROBABLY WANT THESE GUYS BACK

Paul Millsap, F, Atlanta Hawks
Millsap averaged 16.7 points on 56.5% true-shooting, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on the season. He was named an All-Star for the second consecutive season and was one of the most important defenders on a team that finished sixth in defensive efficiency. Continue Reading…

Kyrie Irving was ruled out just before the start of Game 2 due to knee tendonitis. Not long afterwards, DeMarre Carroll was ruled a go to start Game 2 against the Cavs.

It didn’t matter.

Without Irving, LeBron James steamrolled through the Hawks’ defense, making the Hawks look helpless as the four-time MVP carved through Atlanta with his passing and scoring to lead Cleveland to a 94-82 victory. Without Irving and Kevin Love — who is absent from the series with a shoulder injury — James put the team on his healthy shoulders and delivered with 30 points, nine rebounds, and 11 assists.

“I’ve got a good vocabulary, but I’m sort of running out of superlatives for that guy,” said Coach David Blatt on LeBron. “He’s just a great basketball player.”

James was particularly masterful at adjusting throughout the game, as his scoring early was soon replaced with precision passing as the Hawks’ defense collapsed around him. Eight of James’ first nine assists were on 3-pointers, as James expertly delivered the ball to the likes of Iman Shumpert, James Jones, and Matthew Dellavedova around the perimeter.

“I’m able to make adjustments through the game, just knowing how the defense read and react,” said James on the fluctuations in the way he attacked throughout the game. “Obviously, when you’ve got guys like [Shumpert], who shot the ball extremely well tonight, the defense start to go further and further way from the paint and I’m about to see creases. When they react to me, I’m going to find my guys.”

For the Hawks, the offense became an atrocity in the second half. Jeff Teague led the Hawks in Game 1 with 27 points, but he laid an egg in Game 2 when matched up against Dellavedova. Coach Blatt and the Cavs schemed well, as they went under screens to force the Atlanta guards into shooting jump shots that they are not comfortable with. Teague was 1-for-7 from the field in the second half and did not show the same effort in trying to get to the rim that he did in the first half of the game, nor in Game 1.

“At the end of the day, we went out there, and we didn’t have a lot of energy,” said Carroll. “I think that was the biggest thing.”

Despite his injury, Carroll led the team in minutes in Friday night with 34. Carroll was clearly hampered, however, as he had little to no lift when he attempted to jump. The most athleticism Carroll showed all night was on a run out in transition, where Teague was pushing the ball and Carroll was sprinting at his side, waiting for the drop off pass for an easy bucket. Continue Reading…

Game 1 of the Hawks and Cavaliers series looked like a disaster for Atlanta when DeMarre Carroll went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.

The arena was deadly silent. Carroll was rolling in pain on the court as players and coaches from both teams looked on with grave concern. As Carroll was helped off the court, everyone in Atlanta had one thought: it’s over. Without DeMarre Carroll, the team’s best perimeter defender and the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs, the Hawks had no chance against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But alas, a beam of hope has struck the ATL.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the MRI on Carroll’s knee showed no structural damage beyond confirming a knee sprain. Carroll’s status was updated on Wednesday by the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore:

With Kyrie Irving also being questionable for Game 2, the Hawks have ample opportunity to recover from the near disaster that was Game 1. With or without Carroll, here are the keys that the Hawks need to follow to improve in Game 2.

Go under on LeBron James initiated pick-and-rolls

LeBron James had success against the Hawks in Game 1 by getting into the paint, whether it be via post up or drive into the lane with the help of a screen. James often collapsed the Hawks’ defense and would kick out to an open Continue Reading…

For the fans, it seemed like this was going to end the most Atlanta-way possible.

Late in the fourth quarter with a four-point lead, all the Hawks had to do was get the ball inbounded and take the foul to go to the free throw line. The inbound pass found its way to Al Horford, the steady rock for the Hawks, the franchise cornerstone… but Horford panicked, causing a turnover.

The turnover led to two free throws for the Wizards and with with seven seconds left, the Hawks found themselves in the same spot: they just needed to get to the free throw line.

This time Horford held on to the ball and took the foul, and he headed to the free throw line. There, Horford missed the first, the ball bouncing off the rim four times before finally caroming out. Horford connected on the second free throw, putting the Hawks up three with seven seconds remaining.

And then Paul Pierce happened… or at least, so we thought. The Hawks’ defense on the Wizards was stifling for those seven seconds, forcing Pierce to take a heavily contested, fadeaway corner 3. Pierce, who has been a thorn for the Hawks ever since the 2008 first round series between the Hawks and Celtics, continued to torture the fans of Atlanta, sinking the improbable shot as the buzzer was sounding. Continue Reading…