Atlanta Hawks: What To Expect From Jose Calderon

Nov 30, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Jose Calderon (5) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 30, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Jose Calderon (5) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Having added veteran point guard Jose Calderon for the stretch run, what can the Atlanta Hawks realistically expect to get from the Spaniard?

With the Atlanta Hawks short on point guard depth and fully focused on making a deep playoff run, the team’s decision to claim veteran floor general Jose Calderon off of waivers was somewhat self-explanatory.

Having played most of the season with the Lakers, Calderon was signed by the Golden State Warriors, only to be waived prior to ever playing as Kevin Durant‘s injury left the team with more pressing needs at another position.

With only Dennis Schröder and Malcolm Delaney on the roster as true point guard options, the Hawks were vulnerable to seeing their season derailed by an injury to either player.

The question beyond that centers around whether the addition of Calderon just serves to plug that potential area of weakness at the third guard spot, or if Hawks fans should expect to see the Spaniard on the floor regularly in the coming weeks.

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Throughout a storied professional career that has seen the 35-year-old ply his trade in the NBA for more than a decade, while also collecting a host of international medals, Calderon has proven himself to be a highly skilled and intelligent playmaker.

Facing up to the prospect of his first season playing less than 1,200 NBA minutes, the concern has to be that Calderon may not have much left to offer.

In 24 games with the Lakers this year, Calderon averaged 3.3 points, 2.1 assists, 1.7 rebounds in 12 minutes per game, while shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from deep.

While solid counting stat contributions from Calderon would be a useful addition, Calderon’s shooting ability has always been one of the most significant weapons in his arsenal.

Prior to this season’s mark of 35.3 percent from deep, the Spaniard had shot above 40 percent from three-point range for four consecutive years, equating to a career mark of 41.1 percent from distance.

The hope for the Hawks will be that a limited role and surroundings that weren’t ideal for him hurt Calderon’s shooting this year, but there remains a chance of it being a more natural drop-off for a 35-year-old.

If anything, considering his frustration in L.A. and strange situation with Golden State, the feeling of being wanted may provide a valuable confidence boost to Calderon. As he told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

"“At the end of the day you have to see where you are really wanted,” Calderon said Sunday. “They called. They were interested. I think we are right there to go all the way (in the playoffs). I feel comfortable. There was a good talk, a good feeling about it. That’s why I made the decision.”"

Outside of shooting, Calderon is and always has been a tidy and competent playmaker, although it’s worth noting that he’s posting a career-worst assist to turnover ratio of 1.96 this season.

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With more talent around him than he had with the Lakers, the hope for Atlanta will be that Calderon will face less attention on the ball, leaving him with greater opportunity to execute effectively.

Although not overly experienced when it comes to playoff basketball, Calderon’s three post-season appearances in his career to date far outweigh Malcolm Delaney’s lack of NBA playoff action, and as a result, Calderon should at least be able to be relied on in terms of not letting the nerves get to him in April and May.

According to Vivlamore’s report, for Calderon, his experience and know-how hold the key to how he can help the Hawks.

"“This is my 12th season,” Calderon said. “I think everybody knows what I can do on the court. I just tried to get everybody the ball where they want it. Organize the team. I can make shots from the outside and open the spacing for these guys. I’m going to pass the ball, for sure, first thing. I’m going to put the team first. That’s me, I’m a team player. Whatever they need, 20, 40 minutes, I’m ready.”"

Calderon has never been a good defender, and in his advancing years that will only be more apparent.

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If the Hawks can manage his minutes and role, while ensuring he’s also out on the court with the right mix of players at all times, it could turn out to be a valuable pickup for the business end of the season.