An overview of who stood out the most this season.
With the season finally coming to a close, it’s time to look at who had played great for the Hawks. We saw many people come and go, which meant players had to give a little more effort every night. That didn’t look like a problem for this team and especially the players that are on this list.
Dorsey is the first to hit the list. A second-round pick in 2017, Dorsey didn’t have many expectations for his first season. It was evident the Hawks loved his shooting coming out of Oregon, and all they had to do was develop him into a great system player. He had struggles in the Summer League, most notably with his jump shot, and at first glance, it looked like it may take a moment for Dorsey to see the court for the Hawks.
That’s exactly what happened at the beginning of the season. They sent him to the Erie Bayhawks in November for a couple of games, since he wasn’t getting much playing time in the NBA. January is when Dorsey started to see little minutes for the team. It looked like every game Dorsey was improving, both with his shot and fitting within the Hawks season. Dorsey had a stretch in February where he scored 10+ in 4 straight games. After that, he was one of the first players coming off the bench.
When it was announced that Kent Bazemore would be out for the rest of the season, Coach Bud immediately put Dorsey in the starting lineup. For those two weeks, Dorsey didn’t look like the answer as a starter, and he was a better fit to come off the bench. The way his season went, you can tell he will only get better going into his 2nd season as a Hawk and may have a bigger role as well.
If it was any player on the Hawks that had major expectations coming into this season, it was Taurean Prince. Much like Dorsey’s first season, that’s exactly how Prince’s season was last year. With all the movement and shifting of the roster in the offseason, it was for certain that Prince would see a bigger role for the Hawks in his second season. And with all the talk of the Hawks tanking, Prince was not hearing it.
To start the season Prince was putting up decent numbers for the team. Nothing that popped off your screen, but enough to show you that he was contributing. He had his struggles as well and expressed them. After hurting his finger in January against the Lakers, Prince went through a mini-slump for a couple of games. His 3 point percentage had dropped, and defensively he took a step back. Many thought that he should have sat a couple of games to get back in a groove. Prince decided to fight through with whatever he had going on.
March was the month that Prince took off. He had a stretch where he was putting up 20+ points in multiple games. On March 11th against the Bulls, he scored a career-high 38 points. Prince was finally giving us what we wanted since the beginning of the season. He didn’t stop there, because on the 17th he scored 38 points again. His shot was getting better and he looked like the go-to man for the Hawks since Dennis was out for the season.
There were two things we learned about Prince this season: he doesn’t like the word “tank”, and he’s a dog. Exactly what the future of Atlanta basketball needs.
You may not know this, but Kent Bazemore was having one of his best seasons with the Hawks. The lack of talent on this team pushed Bazemore to do much more this season. He was also one of the few veterans on the team, so keeping the guys motivated throughout this year was big for him.
Before Baze was injured, he was putting up solid numbers for the Hawks. He did have his ups and downs of course, but Baze truly doesn’t let anything get to him. The highlight of his season was probably the game-winning shot against the Pelicans. Another one of his good games was against the Warriors when he scored 29 points.
When Bazemore was ruled out for the season, he was still doing his best to help out the team. You would see him on the bench every game rooting for his teammates and giving them pep talks as much as he could. Bazemore definitely did his job with the Hawks this season, and hopefully, he comes back better than ever.