The Atlanta Hawks started the season 4-1, but are currently on a four-game losing streak. What are they doing wrong and how can they fix it?
The first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging that you have a problem. Ladies and gentlemen, the Atlanta Hawks have a problem.
The Hawks started the season 4-1 and were looking like one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They were scoring points at a high rate, and at times it seemed as if they couldn’t miss. They actually gave the Brooklyn Nets a run for their money in back-to-back games!
Once everybody was sold on the team, and John Collins said “we are not a joke”, they suddenly came back down to Earth.
Injuries happened, their offensive rating dropped, and the defense began to get exposed. Now the Hawks are 4-5 and seeking answers.
Fortunately for the Hawks, it’s still the beginning of the season, and the things that are hurting the team can be fixed. First, they have to find the problems, and I think I may have done that for them.
Live or die by the three is what the saying is, and it’s sucking the life out of the Hawks right now.
Last season they were having the same problem, and the front office addressed it by adding shooters to the team. The bad thing is that those players are sitting in bubble wrap right now.
Danilo Gallinari will be out for at least the next week or so with an ankle sprain. Tony Snell has returned, but it’s still up in the air on how much playing time he’ll receive. Bogdan Bogdanovic recently suffered a fractured right knee that can have him sidelined for four-to-six weeks, and possibly longer.
This is the type of shots the Hawks will be missing with Bogdanovic out.
The Hawks will now have to rely on Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and maybe Solomon Hill to knock down shots. I didn’t mention Trae Young, because he’s in a slump himself, which is another thing that’s wrong with the team.
In the past few games, Young has not looked like the player we’ve known him to be. Ill-advised turnovers, not being aggressive, and bad shot selection have been big components on why Young has not been up to par lately. The only way shooters know how get out of a shooting slump is to keep shooting, but Young trying to do it early in the shot clock doesn’t bode well for the team.
In this clip, Young could have hit John Collins on the pick-and-pop, but instead settles for a contested 25-footer. That’s not how you’re going to get out of a slump or win a game.
Young has to realize that unlike the previous seasons, he has help and teammates that can make plays. Getting quality shots will only make the game easier for Young as he tries to get back to his regular self.
Another problem that is haunting the Atlanta Hawks during this stretch is their defense.
It didn’t seem like this was a big problem until the Hawks stopped scoring a lot of points. Against the Knicks, they couldn’t stop RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, and both they did most of their damage in the interior.
Randle was backing down Collins in the post all game, and no help came. The Knicks are not a three-point shooting team, so leaving a guy on the perimeter to help Collins wouldn’t have hurt.
Not only is interior defense hurting the Hawks, but the perimeter is as well. Gordon Hayward had a career night against the Hawks, and it shouldn’t be a surprise because he was open all night.
After already having 18 points in the first half, the Hawks forget to rotate over to Hayward and he’s able to knock down an open three.
The next time around the Hawks stuck to Hayward like glue, but forgot about Ball. Once he realized that he could stand over Young, it was a wrap for the Hawks interior.
Fixing up a few of these kinks will serve the Hawks well for the rest of the season. They still haven’t played with a fully healthy roster, which should help them improve on both sides of the ball.
Young has to find his offensive groove, but also get his teammates involved. That’s the only way the Hawks can maximize what they have on the court. With that being said, players will have to step up with injuries derailing the team.
Nobody expected the Atlanta Hawks to be a great team coming into the season, so this mini-slump isn’t surprising. It’s actually a good thing that all of this is happening sooner than later.
Hit the relax button, Hawks world. Just know that it gets better with time, word to Yung Bleu.