The last couple weeks have been very mysterious as the Hawks blow two second half leads in almost the same fashion, winning down the stretch against Denver and falling 108-107 to Sacramento on Saturday. This month has been a roller coaster as they win, then lose, then win, and then lose again in blowout fashions. Thus causing more trade speculation around Millsap once again, but was quickly shut down stating to the Atlanta Journal Constitution “He’s not going anywhere”, and boldly saying “You can write that”.
The Hawks haven’t had any problems offensively, outscoring their opponents 131-98 in those last two first halves, but failed to keep their foot on the pedal in the second half due to mainly lack of defense and ability to stop runs. Dennis Schroder has been out of the rotation certain games for not giving effort of defense, Coach Budenholzer has shown that he doesn’t mind playing guys like Kris Humphries and Malcolm Delaney if the main starters are lacking energy. Lineup changes have been a normal thing throughout Budenholzer’s tenure, but this year has been different as trades and injuries have taken a toll on the team.
As the season wains, practices are harder to come by and there is less time to prepare for each opponent, these changes can attribute to the Hawks’ inconsistent play all season. Hawks are 4-4 in February, tying their total losses in the entire month of January, the Hawks ended their west coast road trip with another loss to the Clippers heading into all-star the break.
On a brighter note, last year after the all-star break, the Hawks led the entire NBA in defensive efficiency. The Hawks have been reportedly been “actively” trying to improve the roster by adding a piece before the trade deadline, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Lamar Patterson’s 10 day contract will expire next week, which would provide an extra spot in case the Hawks find a deal before the February 23rd deadline.
In a recent Marc Stein ESPN Week 17 NBA power ranking, Atlanta sits at #9 overall, even through the inconsistent play and mind boggling blowouts. The Hawks currently sit at 5th seed behind Toronto and a move to add a star seems impossible with the limited amount of assets, but one could see why management would want to make a splash to prepare for another playoff run.