Hawks mid-season report

The Atlanta Hawks are the hottest team in the NBA as they reached their midpoint of the 2016-17 season. The Hawks have won nine of their last ten games after struggling for much of November and December. Atlanta sits at 24-17, fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Is it possible for the Hawks to be better NOW? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

Paul Millsap is a Hawks leader.

The Atlanta Hawks are getting superb play from Dwight Howard. His Hoop Obsession efficiency rating of .776 harkens back to his dominant years in Orlando. While Howard does not play nearly as much as he did in those Orlando seasons, the huge pivot is just as efficient on a per-minute basis. As a matter of fact, Howard's per-minute "EFR" through the first 41 games is better than more heralded NBA BIGs such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Andre Drummond, and DeAndre Jordan.

And Howard is getting it done defensively too. He owns the best defensive rating on the Hawks, and is the main reason that Atlanta ranks fifth (of 30) in team defensive rating.

Dennis Schroder started slowly but has emerged as a mid-tier starting NBA point guard. Paul Millsap's offense may have slipped a bit but he still brings it each game as a two-way player.

Tim Hardaway Jr. played the best basketball of his career in the first half of this NBA season. He is a better offensive option than Kent Bazemore at shooting guard but Bazemore is the superior defender between the two.

We think the Hawks could be better if they had a legitimate floor-stretching option at the four spot. The other area we think could be stronger is at backup point guard. Malcolm Delaney is not a pure point guard and his efficiency is more suited to being a third option at the two.

Are the Hawks in touch with their reality?

Yes. And they proved it recently by trading Kyle Korver. Korver had not been the same player since returning from ankle surgery (surgery date was May 2015). The Hawks traded Korver and have been playing much better since his departure. Korver going to Cleveland opened up more minutes for Thabo Sefolosha who is one of the NBA's best wing defenders. Sefolosha is presently more efficient, and better defensively than Korver.

It goes without saying that Korver is the better shooter. But we believe, while shooting is important, there is still nothing more important than the OVERALL game, which includes but is not limited to, passing, cutting, catching, defending, rebounding, and contesting, as well as shooting.

In the near future, the Hawks have their own first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and they will likely have their own second round pick (unless that pick falls between 55-60 and is conveyed to San Antonio.) The nice chip the Hawks have is the Brooklyn Nets 2017 second round pick, likely to be the first pick (31st overall) of round two.

Five most efficient by position

PG - Dennis Schroder .528, SG - Tim Hardaway Jr .412, SF - Thabo Sefolosha .426, *PF - Paul Millsap .601, C Dwight Howard .776

* Millsap does not shoot the three-ball well enough (31% 3-pt. FG) to be a floor stretching NBA four. Millsap is more of a small-ball pivot.

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? (players w/ 300 minutes played minimum)

The Hawks TEAM defensive rating is 105.1 (5th of 30). The players with defensive ratings better than the team average: Dwight Howard 100, Thabo Sefolosha 102, Paul Millsap 102, and Kris Humphries 104.


NBA related. Trade targets.