1. (Lack of) Defensive Improvement
One major thing has been to the detriment of the Atlanta Hawks in the post-Budenholzer era: defense.
Things have gotten no better, if not worse for Atlanta this season, ranking last in most defensive categories.
It’s a major reason they have 29 losses on the season, and the main reason they lost to Denver on Monday.
Teams have shot an average of 47% against the Hawks, 5th worst in the league. The Nuggets shot 51% from the field with Will Barton scoring a season-high 28, and Jokic hitting his aforementioned career high of 47.
The Nuggets, who are a much more celebrated defensive team than offensive, looked like knives to the Hawks’ warm butter throughout the game, cutting through the lackluster D for easy buckets or kick outs.
The play on that side of the floor makes it really tough for Atlanta to stay in games, essentially forcing each win to be a shootout that they eventually win.
It’s unfair to expect so much from the young, yet sometimes stellar offense, and it’s certainly not a recipe for a winning season.