Archives For Kawhi Leonard

Think back to the year 1997. Seems like a long time huh? Were you alive? Were you in school? Maybe you were a little baby crying in the crib. Well that’s the last time the Atlanta Hawks franchise walked in an arena and beat the San Antonio Spurs on the road. You see it’s been so long the since the Spurs lost to the Hawks, they played in the old Alamo Dome.

This span extended to 19 straight games on Monday night as the San Antonio Spurs tied the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the NBA beating the Hawks 107-99. The two teams are now 52-14 with sixteen games remaining.

Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder had 22 points and 10 assists to lead Atlanta, while Tim Hardaway Jr. continued his solid play with 17 points. Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore combined for 31 points, but had only five rebounds between them. The loss snapped Atlanta’s three game winning streak.

Kawhi Leonard made his triumphant return from a concussion scoring 31 points for a Spurs team that were uncharacteristically sloppy at times during the game. They had a season high 23 turnovers, missed shots they usually make and looked out of sorts at times. Normally a performance like this would incite anger from Head Coach Gregg Popovich. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks couldn’t stop the San Antonio Spurs from moving atop of the Western Conference as the Spurs topped the Hawks 107-99 in San Antonio. The Spurs were led by Kawhi Leonard’s 31 points while Patty Mills — in place of the injured Tony Parker — scored 15 points and dished out nine assists. For the Hawks, they were led by Dennis Schröder’s double-double, 22 points and 10 assists.

The streak continues

February 15th 1997. That was the date the Hawks last beat the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio and last night that losing streak (now 19 games) continued.

Without LaMarcus Aldridge (get well soon) and Tony Parker, this was as good of a time as ever for the Hawks to, perhaps, emerge from San Antonio with a victory but, alas, it was not to be. Kawhi Leonard was just so good, a truly special talent and an MVP candidate. His contributions on both ends of the floor were a huge reason why the Spurs won this game, as is often the case.

Threes the key

You can look at this game in two different ways: The Hawks either lost this game because they couldn’t contain San Antonio’s three-pointers, or because they couldn’t hit their own threes. The Spurs hit a season-high 16-of-34 (47%) from behind the arc while the Hawks only hit 6-of-22 (27%) from behind the arc, San Antonio outscoring the Hawks 48-18 from three. Take your pick, either way, the three-pointer was the difference.

After, seemingly, taking steps forward when it came to defending the three — holding Memphis and Toronto to a combined nine threes — the Hawks appear to have taken a step back in San Antonio.

We’re going to take a look at some of San Antonio’s threes.

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…

The Hawks lost a nail-biter in San Antonio on Wednesday night, coming up short on the final possession of the game in a 92-90 loss. The loss marks Atlanta’s eighth consecutive loss to the Spurs, who rode their huge rebounding and free throw disparities to the win. The Spurs shot 38 free throws to the Hawks’ 11, though San Antonio left a lot of points at the stripe with 11 misses. The Hawks were down as many as 17 in the first half and fought back to take a late lead, but couldn’t find the winning touch despite a great night from DeMarre Carroll, who had 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with five rebounds.

The first half went about as poorly as the Coach Bud and the Hawks could have hoped, yet they went into the break down just 10 points after a late run in which all five starters put the ball in the basket in the last 2:31 of the second quarter. The Hawks shot 16-for-45 in the first half, including just 2-for-8 from 3. Kent Bazemore gave the Hawks six minutes off the bench in the first half and provided some good defense on Tony Parker, who had his way otherwise with 13 points in the first half.

Atlanta cut the San Antonio lead to six at the end of the third quarter behind strong play from the bench. Dennis Schröder hit his first field goal of the season off a nice feed from Thabo Sefolosha, and the addition of Sefolosha and Bazemore in the latter half of the quarter really turned up the heat on the defensive side of the ball. Continue Reading…

hh-logo-DRAFTSan Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin is a name that has been linked with the Hawks over the last couple of weeks while the draft process has been picking up. Being picked by the franchise in Draft Express, Sports Illustrated, and Chad Ford’s mock drafts, there is justifiable reason to believe that Franklin could be putting on the blue and red hat on draft night. However, coming from a small-conference west coast school like San Diego State, many don’t know how Franklin may fit with Atlanta’s rebuilding dynamic, let alone if this is potentially a smart selection.

Measurements: Franklin has pretty solid height for a shooting guard at 6′ 5.25″, while boasting a remarkable 6′ 11.25″ wingspan. That kind of pervasive wingspan could aid Franklin if he is found playing marginal minutes at the small forward position, which could also be very helpful to Atlanta if they have a similar roster architecture to last season. His weight could potentially be disturbing at the pro level for the time being, as weighing in at 191 pounds could mean that bigger wing players may have the ability to push Franklin around with relative ease. Continue Reading…