In his third year with the Atlanta Hawks, can Clint Capela continue to get boards and be a great pick and roll man on offense? Can Capela defend the paint well, as he had in years past for the Hawks? How will the addition of Murray aid him on offense and defense?
Capela has filled his role as an efficient pick-and-roll man with the Hawks over the last two years. Capela has been Trae Young‘s big man when the star goes to a pick and roll motion. He averaged 11 points per game under that role.
Additionally, he averaged 11 rebounds per game. However, 3 of those 11 rebounds per game were offensive rebounds.
He had also filled his duties as a good defensive player for Atlanta. He is seen as the central defense for the Hawks’ paint defense. The Hawks’ defense did struggle last year overall. Capela did say that he was frustrated. However, the defense shouldn’t struggle as much because the perimeter defense has improved after adding Dejounte Murray.
Clint Capela is the rim-runner and starting center for the Atlanta Hawks.
One would expect that Capela will still be used the same way with the addition of Murray. I could see a lot of pick and roll with him as the setter and Murray as the ball-handler. I expect John Collins to be used more if Murray is the ball-handler just because of Murray’s sub-par three-point shooting.
While Murray isn’t a horrible shooter, the spacing would be pretty bad in a Capela pick and roll just because Capela can’t shoot the three-ball.
I would say that Capela is a candidate to land on one of the All-Defensive teams.
There is an outside chance (emphasis on the outside part) he is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. But I would say landing on one of the defensive teams is reachable. Capela had that as one of his goals this year when the team’s social media asked what his goals were this season.
A lot of this will probably depend on if the perimeter of the defense is way better than last year. Capela doesn’t need to improve to be a good defender. He needs to stop being liable for too much on defense. The Hawks’ perimeter defense was indigent last year and made Capela make up for the mistakes on the guards and wing defenders.
In previous pieces for the player profiles, I have labeled how each player can help the Hawks avoid the play-in. But, to be honest, I don’t think it’s fair to expect that of Capela.
His defense will probably be better because of fewer responsibilities, and his fit in the limited pick and roll screens with Murray will be good — Collins is a better fit for a screen with Murray. But I don’t think he can help this team avoid the play-in unless he (somehow) develops his iso-game.
Capela is a reliable player on offense and a center-piece on defense. I expect him to average 10 points and 10 rebounds this year. His role in the paint (and only role on defense) will be why the Hawks’ defense is way better than last year.