Archives For Tiago Splitter

Happy Friday! Episode 8 of This Week in the Hawks is now available for your listening pleasure, if you can call it that.

In the final push before the All-Star break, I talk about:

  • Lamar Patterson being signed to a second 10 day contract and why I’m worried for him
  • The Hawks “changing course” with Thabo Sefolosha’s rehab
  • Trade chatter
  • Game recaps from the week
  • Stats from the last five games and where the Hawks rank in relation
  • Twitter questions including Tiago Splitter, the Hawks’ position in the East and how ticket sales/arena renovations may have forced ownership to step in
  • A look ahead to the Hawks’ three game Western Conference road trip that will carry the Hawks into the All-Star break

Thanks for listening, if you have any questions for the show feel free to leave them either in a comment here or to my Twitter (@Graham_Chapple). If you enjoyed, consider perhaps sharing on Twitter or Facebook, helps get the word around.

Have a safe weekend!

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Monday afternoon’s game against the New York Knicks marked the Atlanta Hawks’ 41st game of the regular season, the halfway point of the Hawks’ regular season. It has certainly been a topsy-turvy 41 games to say the least and with the Hawks not in action until tomorrow, now seems like a good time to breakdown the Hawks’ season so far using a number of different headings and awards.

Team stats

Let’s go through the splits — and where in the league the Hawks rank — first and then we’ll have a lovely little chat about it.

(Stats courtesy of NBA.com and basketball-reference and are correct as of January 16th)

Record: 24-17 (4th in the East, 11 overall)

PPG: 103 (19th)

FG%: 45.6% (14th)

3PM: 9 (19th)

3P%: 34.6% (23rd)

FT%: 71.8% (28th)

RPG: 44 (13th)

ORPG (offensive rebounds per game): 10.6 (12th)

APG: 24.1 (6th)

SPG: 8.7 (3rd)

BPG: 5.1 (10th)

TOV: 15.5 (25th)

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With the Hawks crossing the halfway point of their 82 game regular season, it is time to look back at some of the successes and failures of the team.

The team’s record sits at 24-17 prior to Monday’s match against the Orlando Magic, on pace for 48 wins for you math majors. This would be a 12-win drop off from last year despite only a couple of roster changes during the offseason. It was common thought that the Hawks wouldn’t be able to match their performance from a season ago given natural regression. The first half of the season has only proved that line of thinking correct. Still, the team has a real shot at a top two seed in the Eastern Conference and will look to enter the playoffs in better shape this time around.

Let’s dive right into what has gone right early in the 2015-16 season.

The Positives:

Kent Bazemore

By now you’ve heard Baze’s story. A four year player at Old Dominion, Kent went undrafted in 2012 and has had to fight for playing time in the Association. James Herbert of CBS Sports recently detailed his early struggles and his improvement since becoming a Hawk in 2014. 

Kent shot 32.7% from three in sporadic time over his first two seasons in the NBA with the Warriors and Lakers. Last season, he shot 36.4% from long range. This year? A brilliant 41.9%. Kent credits a revamped shooting stroke and it has showed in his results. But he has also elevated his game in other ways.

Kent is playing the most minutes of his career at over 28 a game and has responded with double digit scoring for the first time as well. He is fourth on the team in points per game (12.8) and third in True Shooting Percentage (59.2%). In addition, he has turned into a real pesky defender with a 0.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DPM) and over a steal per game.

Long regarded as just a slasher with monster hops, the man from Kelford, North Carolina has refined his game into a well-rounder contributor. Baze was once only known for his bench celebrations, but now his electrifying play between the baselines is causing others to go wild from the sideline. It was only a few months ago when questions surfaced about the team’s ability to replace DeMarre Carroll. Well, I’d say the Hawks have found their replacement plus some.

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Atlanta Hawks reserve center Tiago Splitter will be sidelined for a minimum of two contests with a mild right calf strain. Splitter will not travel with the team on its upcoming two-game road trip.

According to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Splitter injured his calf early in Saturday’s win against New York. Splitter missed 30 games for the San Antonio Spurs last season with persistent calf problems.

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When it comes to confidence, there’s an age-old saying in sports: “never get to high, never get too low.” That’s something Mike Scott talked to me about last year when he was going through a rough shooting spell in December. Just keep on pushing. With the Atlanta Hawks, there certainly haven’t been any dramatically high points this season. No big low points either (unless you want to say the outlier that was the Minnesota game). Coach Mike Budenholzer preaches patience on offense. Finding the best look possible. Giving up a good shot for a great shot. That’s the Atlanta Hawks basketball we’ve become accustomed to over the past few seasons.

So what’s with the recent struggle? Sure, every team faces rough patches in their season – especially early on, right Houston? – which lead fans and pundits alike to ask questions. Skeptics have taken a look at this Hawks team and asked:

“Do they have what it takes to replace DeMarre Carroll?”

“Can the Hawks get over the hump that was in their way last season?”

“Are they regressing to the mean?”

To be completely honest, the offense has been largely unimpressive at times. The Hawks have displayed a lack of ball movement, spacing, and just a bumbling collection of careless mistakes and typical early-season errors. Going into that would take a chapter-book that will have to be illustrated another time.

But wait. It’s not like the offense is bad. We’re in the top 10 in the league with an offensive rating of 103.2 and putting up 101.4 points per game. I’m sure a bunch of teams would be thrilled to produce like the Hawks offensively.

I get the feeling watching these guys that they’re close to reaching their peak. Close, but not there yet. The ideals are there, the Bud system is there, but there are moving parts coming in this season that have forced adjustments. We’re treated to vintage Hawks basketball for a few minutes each game, such as the electric 2nd half against Minnesota (which is something the Hawks are capable of producing against any opponent), but there’s a sloppiness and lack of execution showing through the cracks.

We came into this season thinking that the Hawks would seamlessly adjust to the new roster additions and returning injured players. But some parts of the personnel adjustments this year have been like putting a square peg in a round hole. Other parts have worked better than I thought. And some have the potential to grow into prospering offensive weapons. Some of these examples include Kent Bazemore’s rise as a starter, my affinity for Lamar Patterson as a playmaker and basketball player, and, especially, the adjustments the offense with the addition of Tiago Splitter.

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The Atlanta Hawks returned to the place their breakout 2014-15 season ended and suffered a similar fate in a 109-97 loss. In front of a sellout Quicken Loans Arena crowd, Kevin Love led the Cavs with 25 points and 11 rebounds and LeBron James added 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Hawks only had one lead and were never really in the game past the opening minutes.

The big story was the ejection of coach Mike Budenholzer after just one technical foul. Coach Bud was giving Ben Taylor some words after Justin Holiday was hit in the face on a drive without a whistle, and he appeared to make contact with the fifth year referee, which would warrant the immediate ejection. After the game, coach Bud stated that he did not immediately realize he bumped Taylor and that the contact was unintentional.

Kenny Atkinson took over the coaching duties from there but there would be no emotional rally from Atlanta.

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While the start of Atlanta’s season has been fairly strong, stronger than last year’s 7-6 prelude to the franchise’s first 60 win season, there are a few notable areas for improvement. The most glaring of that group has to be rebounding, which helped foil the Hawks’ attempts to reach the NBA Finals just a few months ago and is currently foiling their endeavors to retain the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Most attribute the Hawks’ struggles in this area to a lack of size on the roster but it has become clear that most of the blame falls squarely on the overall scheme of the team. It matters less the stature of the players and more how hard the players crash the glass.

The below is a table of the Hawks’ rebounding performance in every year since coach Mike Budenholzer has taken the helm. I’ve listed the league finish in each rebounding percentage estimate via Basketball Reference.

OReb% DReb%
2013-14 28th 17th
2014-15 30th 22nd
2015-16 28th 29th

In fairness, in every year of Larry Drew’s tenure from 2010 to 2013 his teams finished in the bottom five of offensive rebounding percentage, but those teams were above average on the other end of the floor in each of those three seasons. The trend under the current regime is discouraging, nonetheless. Continue Reading…

In a deal that nobody saw coming, the Atlanta Hawks have received Tiago Splitter in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

This trade caught a lot of people off guard as nobody really expected Splitter to be going anywhere, let alone to an Atlanta team that has a top five center in Al Horford. That said, this gives them a little flexibility the recent departure of DeMarre Carroll. With Carroll gone, the Hawks were looking to replace his defense, and finding a perimeter defender to the level of Carroll was going to be difficult to say the least. Atlanta also had to take into consideration their lack of rim protection last season. With Splitter, the Hawks managed to address two issues with their roster at the same time.

Not only that, but should Paul Millsap leave, Atlanta could have a gaping hole at power forward in their rotation of bigs. With the addition of Splitter, the Hawks can just slide Horford over to his more natural position power forward and fix that hole. Although the loss in depth would be very noticeable.