The All Powerful Hawks
Since early January when the Hawks were put up for sale they have been absolutely on fire! The NBA power rankings have been dominated by the Golden State Warriors all season but recently they have been dethroned by these Hawks. My first statement is a little short-sighted since technically these Hawks have gone 26-2 since Thanksgiving. So the question must be asked… What is their key to success?
They lead the league with assists on made field goals at 70%. This would make us look toward their all star candidate point guard Jeff Teague. He “only” averages 7.4 assists per game. With point guards like Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Ty Lawson, and Chris Paul who all average 10 assists per game, it is surprising that the Hawks hold this type of stat. Teague is assisted (no pun intended) in this area by his front court. The way that Horford and Millsap share the ball is something not commonly seen in today’s league. Most big men will post up and either put up a shot at the rim or pass out to the perimeter after the opposing defense proves impenetrable. Sometimes, commonly seen with the Pacers, you will see the forward halfheartedly roll to the top of the key/elbow area and shoot an 18 foot jump shot. Horford an Millsap have no problem at mid-range, they can penetrate and drive and have enough basketball IQ to find open shooters and hit people cutting to the basket. Not everyone is perfect though. They like to get dunked on:
Kyle Korver has also been big in their success. Recently he has been nicknamed Threesus because it seems like he just doesn’t miss. Korver leads the league in three pointers made but ranks 11th in three pointers taken. That is almost unheard of efficiency and is shown in his 53.5% success rate from behind the arc. Korver is on track for a historic season leading the NBA in points off of catch-and-shoot opportunities (381), catch-and-shoot field goal percentage (52.4 percent), catch-and-shoot three-point percentage (53.2 percent), and catch-and-shoot threes made per game (2.8). Korver also owns the NBA record for most consecutive games with a three-pointer (127). If he keeps putting up numbers like this he will join not only the 50-40-90 club with the likes of Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Dirk, Steve Nash; but he may become the second member of the 50-50-90 club joining only Steve Kerr.
These assists seem to come easy when you have a shooter like this lurking on the perimeter.
Oh, and he can also dunk:
Another thing that is interesting about this team is that they have no players in the top 30 for minutes or points per game. This team works well together. They are unselfish. On any given night any member of the team could have a career game. Their starters get rest since they have a competent bench. Defensively they have high motor guys like DeMarre Carroll making energy plays. With all this going for them, I would be surprised if we didn’t see them in the eastern conference finals, if not the NBA finals.