How do the Hawks improve from here on out? For the last few seasons, the Hawks defense has been elite, consistently landing in the top five. The struggle for them has come from the offensive end. With the addition of Dwight Howard and the insertion of Dennis Schroder into the starting lineup, the Hawks offensive scheme has changed dramatically. One of the biggest problems with these changes is the increase in the number of turnovers. Howard and Schroder both struggle to keep the ball under control which has been a massive problem for the Hawks. Another factor in the Hawks offense is the regression of Kent Bazemore. He was given a 4 year 70 million dollar contract after his standout season last year. This year his shooting percentages have dropped across the board, and he needed to be benched come playoff time. Part of this comes off of his increased role in handling the ball and creating his own shot. Bazemore still provides a solid defensive wing in the starting lineup, but for the Hawks to improve Bazemore will have to improve his scoring.
Another large part of the Hawks offensive woes come from abysmal three-point shooting. Despite being one of the best teams in finding open shots, the Hawks struggle to convert from beyond the arc. With the loss of Kyle Korver, the Hawks have one less reliable option for outside shooting. Despite their shooting troubles, the roster that the Hawks have has a reasonable amount of decent shooters. Dennis Schroder has improved his shot as the season progressed and can now be counted on to reliably hit his shot. Tim Hardaway Jr. has been very inconsistent, but he has shown a capability to shoot very well. Mike Muscala, Ersan Ilyasova, Jose Calderon, and Paul Millsap are all capable shooters. The problem is that with the exception of Dennis Schroder, the majority of the Hawks outside shooters are entering free agency.
The Hawks have a few routes they could take if they want to remedy their offense. The first would be to draft a capable player. Luke Kennard is quite possibly one of the best shooters in the draft and has been linked as a possibility for the Hawks. Harry Giles is another high-risk high reward possibility and would make an interesting frontcourt alongside Dwight Howard. The Hawks could also choose to resign Tim Hardaway Jr. and hope that they see improvement from both him, Taurean Prince, and Kent Bazemore. All three have shown the ability to be very solid wing players, the only problem is in their consistency. The Hawks also have to find better use of Dwight Howard. He is no longer the MVP candidate from his Orlando Magic days, and that is evident from his play. While he gives the Hawks elite rebounding, he has limited ability to play in the post. Howard would be a perfect player to run the pick and roll with Dennis Schroder, but he has shown an unwillingness to accept that role. With Dwight Howard aging and his history of injury, the Hawks will have to find a reliable role for him, as well as a backup for when he goes to the bench.
featured image from the Baltimore Sun