The Atlanta Hawks had fairly the offseason. After a dreadful 2019-20 season during which they completed 14th within the Jap Convention standings, Travis Schlenk utterly overhauled his roster. When the free agent market opened up, the Hawks dished out $158.2 million to usher in some instant upgrades.
The primary massive splash was the extremely sought-after Danilo Gallinari. That was the skin menace that they wanted to pair with both John Collins and/or Clint Capela. They added key veteran function gamers like Rajon Rondo, Solomon Hill, Tony Snell and Kris Dunn. They stole Onyeka Okongwu within the draft and didn’t lose a lot of something when it comes to on-court manufacturing.
Atlanta’s greatest offseason addition was Bogdan Bogdanovic, who turned accessible after the failed commerce between the Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks. The restricted free agent bought a four-year, $72 million deal that included a participant choice.
On paper, the Hawks had been virtually assured to be a playoff group. Their additions to the roster made them arguably the deepest group within the league. The younger nucleus of Trae Younger, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Collins and Capela now had the expertise and veteran management to mould them right into a playoff group.
After three years of accumulating losses in Sacramento, Bogdanovic was keen to begin profitable on a constant foundation. The 28-year previous taking pictures guard bought off to a gradual begin along with his new group. He performed simply 5 video games in January earlier than being sidelined with an damage. He was averaging simply 5.6 factors per recreation whereas taking pictures 31 p.c from the ground.
Across the time of the All-Star break, Atlanta was broadly considered probably the most disappointing group of the season. The substances had been all there, however the completed product was removed from scrumptious. That is the place Atlanta’s season rotated.
Sitting eleventh within the Jap Convention standings, the Hawks fired head coach Lloyd Pierce and named Nate McMillan the interim coach. Atlanta gained that first recreation underneath McMillan in opposition to the Miami HEAT, which additionally occurred to be the evening Bogdanovic returned after lacking 25 video games with an avulsion fracture in his proper knee.
After getting his legs again underneath him, Bogdanovic has returned to the participant we noticed in Sacramento. He averaged 11.2 factors per recreation within the month of March, whereas taking pictures 44 p.c from the ground and has actually come alive in his final eight video games. To date in April, Bogdanovic is averaging 21.6 factors per recreation whereas taking pictures 52 p.c from past the arc and 51 p.c general from the ground.
Bogdan Bogdanovic final 8 video games:
The Hawks have outscored opponents by 70 factors when Bogi is on the ground in that span. pic.twitter.com/botRc1yACn
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 11, 2021
Bogdanovic has been extremely environment friendly taking pictures the ball, however he’s additionally taking good care of it extraordinarily nicely. Together with the preseason, Bogdanovic has performed 33 video games this season and has by no means had greater than two turnovers in a recreation. A few of that is because of Young having the second-highest usage rate in the league, however Bogdan nonetheless has the ball in his fingers loads.
Usually, when a participant carries the scoring load, the group loses. That has not been the case in Atlanta, the place Bogdanovic has scored 28 factors, 26 factors, 21 factors, and 32 factors in 4 video games this month. The Hawks gained all of these contests.
The surface taking pictures from Atlanta has been key to their latest success. As a group, they’re taking pictures 37.2 p.c from behind the arc, which ranks 11th in the league. Each Bogdanovic and Gallinari have performed a big a part of that, particularly in final week’s recreation in opposition to the New Orleans Pelicans the place the Hawks had been an ideal 11 of 11 from deep within the third quarter. They made 20 of their 31 three-pointers within the victory.
— NBA Historical past (@NBAHistory) April 7, 2021
After the sport, Younger acknowledged the excellent play of his new teammate. “It’s nice to have him again and nice to have him again in a groove, too,” Younger mentioned. “Everyone has been form of feeding off him flattening photographs.” Gallinari summed it up nicely after Friday’s victory over the Chicago Bulls. “The chemistry is getting higher.”
The Hawks had been 14-20 when McMillan took over teaching duties. They gained their subsequent eight video games and have now gained 15 of their final 20. Bogdanovic has performed in every a type of video games, however they’re nonetheless lacking a few of their key gamers.
Collins stays out with an ankle damage, Hunter is out after a non-surgical process on his knee and Reddish will miss a minimum of 4 extra weeks. Younger, Gallinari and Snell are all day-to-day with minor points. The Hawks had been relying on Dunn to offer much-needed perimeter protection alongside Younger, however he has nonetheless but to play this season. Regardless of all of this, Atlanta owns the fourth-best report within the East.
When this group returns to well being, they are going to be a group that no person needs to face. They nonetheless aren’t on the degree of Brooklyn, Philadelphia or Milwaukee however they’re coming collectively on the proper time. The whole lot appears to be clicking for Atlanta. They haven’t had a style of postseason basketball because the 2016-17 season. Now they simply would possibly be capable of host their first playoff recreation in State Farm Area, as one of many high 4 seeds within the East.
There have been some darkish days in Atlanta, however going ahead, the longer term for this group is extraordinarily vibrant.