Atlanta Hawks: Clint Capela shows that he is a true force – grades

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks made a franchise-changing move in 2019-20 when they traded for Clint Capela. The Swiss star sat on the bench for the remainder of that season due to injury. He then took the court at the start of the 2020-21 season in the second game and did not look back.

Capela was the league leader in rebounds last season and was fourth in blocks per game. His defensive ability was one of the key attributes that helped change the Hawks for the better during the regular season. He allowed the Hawks to have one of the better perimeter defenses in the league as well.

Capela’s playoff defense was not up to his usual standards, especially against the Philadelphia 76ers but we can give the man a leave pass on that one. He was defending the skilled man mountain that was Joel Embiid. He should have been able to bounce back against the Milwaukee Bucks as the series was made for him but he still struggled. The Bucks simply dominated the paint.

The Atlanta Hawks learned a lot about defense with Clint Capela on the floor

Capela was the most crucial defensive piece this season. This is not due to his blocks or rebounds, it is due to his voice. Capela is very vocal behind his perimeter defenders, telling them which way to go. This is crucial as they are able to take a step up on defense, meaning fewer open 3-point looks.

On top of that, Capela was good enough when the initial defender was beaten that he was able to take over and usually deny the shot. This was one of the biggest differences from last season and was a huge reason for the Hawks making the playoffs.