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Atlanta Hawks End Of Season Report

Brett Davis / USA TODAY Sports
Last season the Atlanta Hawks were knocked out of playoff contention during the Play-in tournament by the Heat. During the offseason, the Hawks made a pivotal move to bring Dejounte Murray to complete the backcourt with Trae Young. In addition to Murray, other roster moves include the loss of Kevin Huerter and the drafting of A.J. Griffin, who saw some good minutes this year taking him to the Rising Stars Game.


Coming into the season, the expectation for Hawks fans was a run in the playoffs. The hope was that the offense would be lethal and relatively unstoppable with Young and Murray in the backcourt and John Collins in tandem with Clint Capella running pick-and-rolls. The more realistic expectation from fans without rose-colored glasses was an improvement in offensive production, while Murray would bring some dominance on the defensive end.
At the beginning of the season, the Hawks came out with a hot start. This slowly ended with a fluctuation of wins and losses. The Hawks slowly showed that the fear of having two ball-dominant guards on one team was right. It would take some time to get in a rhythm and get the two guards, who will be more hands-on, on the same page.
The season has now ended at the hands of the Boston Celtics. Now that we have seen a complete season, it is the time of the year when every writer cries about what could have been better while one gets to boast of the success and achievements of the team they choose to support.

Offensive Grade: A-

Every “ATLien” was excited to see what it would look like with two ball-dominant guards in the backcourt for the Hawks. There were definite growing pains between the two as far as chemistry goes. At the beginning of the season, rumors were swirling about whether or not things were going well for the pairing. The main concern was chemistry on and off the court. Murray in the past has seem confident in his fit with Young and nixed some of those rumors.
“I’ve been watching Trae since he was in high school,” Murray told ESPN. “Knowing he could really play off the ball, he could shoot the ball at a really high level. Just bringing all that into play.”
It was no secret to Hawks fans that it was not the off-court chemistry. In the summer, before NBA season started, the two signed up to play together in Jamal Crawford’s Crawsover League. Granted, it is a pickup game with little to no organization, but it still showed that the pair would get along and make things work.

After the awkwardness, Murray saw a minor ankle injury that sidelined him for five games. After his return, things were all new. Murray still was in control of the ball but in a way that still gave Young the primary ball-handling duties. This was when Hawks fans started seeing what everyone predicted this tandem would be.

Hawks Have Help Everywhere

Points started rolling in, and assists started piling up for Young and Murray. After the two stars follow the role players, Clint Capela had one hell of a season on the boards, per usual. The big man out of Switzerland is a maestro regarding the pick-and-roll with Young. The two are a dominant force when rolling to the hole, as you never know if Young will stop and pop a floater or lob it up for a signature Capela slam.
The Hawks saw good production off their bench as well, Griffin came into the NBA ready to hoop, and boy did he. Griffin got himself an invite to the Rising Stars Challenge, an All-Star weekend event that showcases the young talent in the league. Due to the presence of Murray, Bogdon Bogdanovic turned into a sixth man, and continued to battle a knee injury, but when available was a constant burst of energy for the team.

Defensive Grade: C+

Off the bench, you also have Onyeka Okangwu, who is starting to come into his own and show Hawks fans what the front office thought when they drafted him. Okangwu is a significant presence on the defensive end. OO ranks tenth in blocks and eleventh in block percentage.
Another massive presence on the defensive end is Murray. At the end of the season, Murray was sixth in total steals. When Murray is on the court, there is a different feeling. The Seattle product can guard any position. When you have a guard that can drive to the hole and finish or stop and pop, it is excellent, but if you add that to a guard with an on-ball defensive presence like Murray, you have a dangerous player.

The Hawks Play Hard on Both Ends

Deandre Hunter is another critical factor on this team, especially on defense. Hunter has the long arms and athleticism to guard anyone, which is crucial for this defense. Hunter spent most of the playoff series with the Celtics guarding Jayson Tatum and doing a pretty decent job.
The key to this team on defense is the switching. When Quin Snyder came in, he implemented a better system on defense that involved more switching and dropping on screens. This is a needed change due to the lack of natural ability from Young due to his short stature.
With such a hole in the defense coming from Young, it is hard to score the overall defense as successful. Young is targeted in most games, and for good reason; defense is not what Young was drafted for.

Overall: B

This season was nothing to cry over. The way it started and ended, so much has gone on. In February, Hawks head coach Nate McMillan was let go, and a few days later, Snyder replaced him. From the jump, Quin came in and demanded respect while maintaining the culture.



Snyder has gone 28-13 since coming to the Hawks, leading the team past the Heat and to a six-game series with the Celtics. After the loss, Young told the media that he couldn’t wait to spend an entire summer with Snyder. There have been many rumors that Young and the Hawks may part ways, but nothing is coming out of the front office.

Every Hawks fan should be excited about the future of this team. Look at how much better they were when Snyder came over. In addition to a year under the belt of the new backcourt, an entire summer under the regime of Snyder will do wonders for this team and get them to the promised land.

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