Atlanta Hawks: 3 Challenges the Grizzlies present in preseason

Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks will need to prevent points in the paint against the Grizzlies

In the Atlanta Hawks’ two upcoming matchups with the Memphis Grizzlies, points in the paint will most definitely be a stat to keep an eye on. The Grizzlies led the NBA last season with 55.9 points in the paint per game while the Hawks were dead last in that category league defensively, giving up 53.6 points in the paint per game.

While the Hawks won’t have to worry about Georgia native Jae Crowder, who has moved on to play with Chris Paul and Devin Booker in Phonenix, Jonas Valanciunas is still on the Grizzlies’ roster and will surely be a handful to deal with. The big man went 10 for 13 from the field for 27 points in the teams’ second matchup last season and while John Collins netted the same number of points, the Hawks had absolutely no answer for Valanciunas.

Moves were made by the Atlanta Hawks’ front office this offseason to combat and correct their defensive struggles. While Clint Capela was on the Hawks’ roster last year, he didn’t see any action on the floor due to injuries. He and John Collins should help Atlanta see a vast improvement in the paint both offensively and defensively, and with Danilo Gallinari coming off of the bench with size and shooting, Hawks fans should be intrigued by the post matchups of the next two games.

A new addition to the Hawks’ roster, Solomon Hill was a member of the Memphis Grizzlies last season when these two teams faced off. We got to see Hill in action in the NBA bubble with the Miami Heat as he did a lot to bolster their paint presence as a bruiser against the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Atlanta Hawks grabbed Hill this offseason in hopes that he can play the same sort of role in their new-look defense this season.

If the Hawks are able to secure the paint, they’ll have a much better chance of hanging with the Grizzlies this time around.