The Atlanta Hawks bigs were very effective in transition last season

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks have rewarded several players with lucrative new deals this offseason. Not the least of which was Trae Young, who got an extension worth up to $207 million. It was all but a foregone conclusion that the deal would get done, but it’s still notable for a player many doubted early on.

He wasn’t the only one as the Hawks also re-signed John Collins ($125 million) and extended Clint Capela (two years, $46 million) to lock in their “Big Three” for the next four years.

Those latter two paid big dividends last season, particularly in the open court.

The Atlanta Hawks bigs thrived when they could get out and run

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Both Collins and Capela were among the league’s best in transition last season. Among players to appear in at least half of the games last season, Collins ranked seventh in transition points per possession.

Capela checked in at a respectable 14th, making Atlanta one of three teams with a pair of players in the top-15 in transition points per play.

Of course, like most statistics, this is a bit misleading.

The Hawks were among the bottom in terms of getting out in transition last season, ranking 25th in transition frequency.

But they were 10th in transition points per possession.

Likewise, Collins and Capela are near the bottom of transition possessions per game. It stands to reason as bigs aren’t running the fast break and are often starting them with passes off of rebounds.

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It would be nice to see Collins, in particular, add a little bit of shot creation for himself and others to his game. Especially after he signed that new deal and still isn’t great on defense.

For what it’s worth, just Capela is of similar importance to Collins as he is to Young.

The duo of Danilo Gallinari and Onyeka Okongwu pop up not far behind Capela but their frequency is even less. Gallinari had the higher average of the two with just 1.0 transition possessions per game.

Perhaps we’ll see an increased pace from the Hawks this season with a year together under their collective belt.

They were just 22nd in pace last season.

Again this is a relatively small sample size compared to the top guys, but they are mostly guards. The few exceptions include Pascal Siakam and Zion Williamson. If Collins is able to add some more playmaking to his game like those two, and thus have the ball in his hands more this season, his contract could wind up looking like a bargain.

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As it stands, he and Capela will look to continue complimenting each other and Young for the foreseeable future.