Can Luke Babbitt be Kyle Korver 2.0?

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 31: Luke Babbitt
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 31: Luke Babbitt /

The Atlanta Hawks have officially signed forward Luke Babbitt. Can Coach Mike Budenholzer use Babbitt’s 3-point shooting prowess to turn him into Kyle Korver 2.0?

For four years Kyle Korver was the nucleus of the Hawks system offensively. Korver only averaged a few points per game. But he was the second or third most important guy for Atlanta from an x’s and o’s perspective. He could shoot the long range shot like it was no one’s else’s business. And he’s averaged 43.1% from long range during his 14-year tenure in the NBA to prove it.

This opened the floor for everyone else on the court while he was in Atlanta. It allowed Jeff Teague room to dribble through the lane, and left Kent Bazemore, Demarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and other players wide open from beyond the arc when the Hawks were at their peak. Now that Korver is gone, the Hawks will need another knock down shooter to open the floor up for the rest of the guys. Luke Babbitt is that guy, plus more.

Luke Babbitt is averaging 40.6% from downtown for his career on 2.5 attempts a game. This isn’t Kyle Korver-level 3-point shooting but, it is a high percentage. Kyle Korver was always a great 3-point shooter. But when he began playing under Budenholzer his open looks skyrocketed, and as a result he shot a higher percentage. Budenholzer could do the same thing with Babbitt but make him even better.

Obviously Luke Babbitt has the shooting to fit in the Atlanta’s system. But he also has the mobility to get out on the perimeter using screens to set himself up along with others. That’s something Kyle Korver did regularly, and it’s something Babbitt showed he could do for Miami this year. The difference is that Babbitt can put the ball on the floor and take it to the rack if a defender bites on a pump fake or comes out too far to guard him.

The Hawks picked up Korver at the age of 31. Luke Babbitt is only 28 which means he’ll probably have a little more energy to run around the court in search of a wide open shot. Babbitt hasn’t had any major injuries that would slow him down from going the extra mile for the Hawks.

Because Babbitt’s height is more on the power forward end of the spectrum. it’ll give the Hawks more flexibility with lineups. They’ll be able to place him at the 3, 4, or 5 spot depending on what style of play Atlanta wants to engage in.

We can sit here and create a million different scenario’s involving Luke Babbitt. But imagine a lineup with Dennis Schroder, Marco Belinelli, Luke Babbitt, Ersan Illyasova, and Mike Muscala. Together that group shoots 37.3% from deep. Sure they would have to work their tales off on defense.

Most wouldn’t want to see this many shooters out on the floor alongside the lighting fast Dennis Schroder. Babbitt has the ability to trail his teammates on fast-breaks and stand in the right spot for a three. This would be a tough cover for teams with weak defensive IQ.

Having Babbitt on the floor creates the type of versatility the Hawks have missed without Kyle Korver. He can play two positions, shoot efficiently, dribble the ball, and hustles on both ends of the floor. By the way, Kyle Korver played way more minutes than Babbitt has every seen on an NBA court.

With the way Mike Budenholzer likes to play his more experienced players. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Luke Babbitt average a career-high in minutes played due to how young our team is this season. We’ve seen what the Hawks can do with players that have that natural appetite for bombing it from miles away. Babbitt could be that next sharpshooter for Atlanta.