They went on to make the first round of the playoffs behind 38 points on a 52 percent shooting performance from Young against the Cavs in the play-in round. However, the Hawks lost to the Heat in five games during the first round of the playoffs. Young had an up-and-down series, scoring only 20+ points twice thanks to the Heat’s defensive ability.
The season was not a complete loss for Young, who received his first All-NBA nod. The star averaged 28 points per game on 46 percent shooting. He was terrific from three, shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc. Additionally, he averaged nine assists per game. A lot of these assists came off pick and rolls. Young often used this play with the fourth highest frequency for pick- and roll action.
The Atlanta Hawks pick and roll offense is well served by their big men
Young often uses John Collins or Clint Capela as his big man in the pick and roll. Capela will roll to the rim if Young gets a pick from him. On the other hand, Collins sometimes stretches out to the three-point line but will mostly drive to the basket as well.
The two main negatives I would say that Young had last season were not really adjusting to being blitzed and struggling on defense. That end of the floor has always been a struggle for the All-NBA player, but adapting to opposing coaching adjustments is a newer challenge for Young. Blitzing Young wasn’t necessarily a new strategy against him, but it certainly was used a lot more by the Heat.
Young struggled when getting doubled last year. It seemed like the primary strategy to guard young was to throw a double/”Blitz” on him. They often did this at the top of the key, forcing other Hawks players to set up. This should change this year with the addition of Dejounte Murray. Murray is another elite ball-handler and playmaker who should help with this.
Additionally, another way that Murray should help is with his defense. While Young never got the primary guard assignment on defense, he still struggled at that end of the floor. So switching Hurter with Murray on defense across from Young should help the All-NBA player a lot.
I would look for Young to have another All-Star/All-NBA type year. The East will be very competitive, so the Hawks might have to settle for a play-in spot. For Young, that isn’t necessarily a step up since last year. Having to win a game to most likely lose a series to the one seed is not how Young wants this season to go after last year.
While the paring of Murray and Young makes the Hawks an excellent team, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks have to settle for the play-in. I think one way the Hawks could avoid the play-in would be if Young takes his game to another level. The Atlanta Hawks need Young to be at his best if they want to improve from last year. With the play of Murray beside him, he could be back into All-NBA form.