Despite owning the league’s worst record, there have been some bright spots for our Hawks.
At 11-30, the Atlanta Hawks are on pace to lose 60 games just 3 seasons after winning 60. To most casuals, this would be seen as a complete failure. But this feels slightly different to me. Not only do we have a full staff of competent management/coaching staff in place, we have some good young talent already in place. Couple that with the insane amount of draft picks we own this coming June, we could see the Hawks competing again by next year.
Despite the record, several players have had a really good year. How does each stack up compared to my expectations coming into the season. Find out below
Dennis Schroder: B-
Dennis has handled this season about as well as you could ask your starting Point Guard to do. He is averaging around 20 PPG along with 6.6 Assists. While his shooting percentage is decent, his 3PT percentage has taken a nose dive lately. In addition, his defense is considered by some to be one of the worst in the league. In order to really be our Point Guard of the future, he is going to have to focus much harder on defense. On a few occasions, Bud has benched him in crucial moments due to defense.
Taurean Prince: A
Taurean has easily been the most impressive Hawk this season. He took off from right where he landed in April. His 13.1 PPG is good for second on the team. Not only has his scoring improved but also has his shooting (.415 from three) and his decision making. The sky is the limit for Prince and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up an All Star in the coming years.
Kent Bazemore: B-
I personally expected a little more out of Baze this season. With the departures of THJ, Millsap and Dwight I thought he’d provide a little bit more of a scoring bunch. He has however improved his game overall, especially in the past few weeks.
Marco Belinelli: B
Marco has done exactly what he was brought here to do. Come in the game and shoot. Good shot, bad shot, contested shot, it doesn’t matter, Marco is going to shoot. It has kept the Hawks in some games that they probably should’ve been blown out. Don’t get used to Marco though, I’m willing to bet that he will be traded in the coming weeks.
Ersan Ilyasova: B
Another player that Hawks fans should not get comfortable with. As seen through the majority of his career, Ersan is a good midseason trade piece. After a slow start to the season, Ilyasova has really turned it on as of late with several 20+ games as well as providing some crafty defense.
John Collins: A-
Collins is proving that he’s not just a “dunker”. You can tell that the coaching staff is running specific sets to get him out of the paint and develop his shot. While this is hurting his averages and shooting percentages right now, it will definitely pay off in the future. When dunking, John has been able to “baptize” a few poor defenders. Game by game you can see him getting more comfortable with his hands as well as defense. Don’t be surprised to really see his minutes increase to 25-30 a night once Ersan is traded.
Dewayne Dedmon: B+
Before his injury, it really looked like Dewayne was getting comfortable in Bud’s offense. While some see him as a trade chip, I think Dedmon is someone the Hawks would like to keep around to mentor Collins at least for the rest of this season if not longer. With his developing 3 point shot, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the two paired in the front court again going forward.
Luke Babbitt: D
After a decent start to the season, Luke has found himself buried on the bench with no change in sight. It is unlikely any team will even trade a future 2nd rounder for him either.
Mike Muscala: D+
Coming in, Moose was expected to have a huge year but a bad ankle sprain has derailed his season. He is just now working his way back into the crowded front court rotation.
Malcolm Delaney: B-
It took almost a season and a half, but it finally looks like Bud has found the perfect role for Malcolm in this offense. More of an off the ball backup two guard type. Delaney has been killing it as of late and could see his playing time increase further if/when Marco is traded.
Tyler Cavanaugh: B
Tyler has been one of the better stories in the NBA this season. Straight from the G-League, Cavanaugh put up an impressive 16 point performance in New Orleans that almost won the Hawks the game. He’s currently buried in the crowded front court rotation but as mentioned, trade season could change that.
Miles Plumlee: C-
At first glance, Miles has done a good job filling into the starting lineup due to injures. But then you remember he is making 12.5 Million Dollars not just this season, but the next one and the next one. It will be next to impossible to trade his contract.
DeAndre’ Bembry: F
Injuries have absolutely derailed Dre’s season. Bembry was the player I was most excited to see develop this year but it just hasn’t happened. When he got on the court, his shooting and turnovers made him simply unplayable. He got sent down to the G-League to find his rhythm but now is dealing with yet another injury.
Isaiah Taylor: B
Until the past week, Taylor was handling the backup point guard spot. His quick and crafty moves allow him to get into the paint easily. He has been a pleasant surprise after the shocking move to cut Quinn Cook.
Tyler Dorsey: C
When Dorsey gets in the game he appears to be a serviceable NBA shooter off the bench. One has to wonder if Bud is trying to play him a bit more the past few games to see if he is “ready” for steady minutes if/when Marco is traded.