The Atlanta Hawks took a big swing in the offseason and, so far, the results have been mixed at best. While it would be easy to single out one player or aspect in which this team is failing and place blame. But fingerpointing would be counterproductive and is not the direction the Hawks are taking in the still-early stages of the season.
On a night when Trae Young broke Sixers head coach Doc Rivers’ Hawks franchise record with his 139th game with at least 10 assists, he instead spent the majority of his media availability Tuesday discussing what the Hawks must do to shake out of their funk.
“We got to figure out how to get one,” Young said of his message to the locker room.
It’s a simple answer to a seemingly complex issue given all of the ways the Hawks have proven to be vulnerable so far but the three-time All-Star knows how things snowball in the NBA.
Atlanta Hawks need to “get one” win to get going again according to Trae Young
“We get one and, hopefully, that strings together some wins,” Young said. I mean, in this league, it’s all about momentum and when a team gets going, they can get going for a while. And when they’re down, they can stay down for a while. So, it’s all about how you can win that first one and then trying to string together some wins.”
Young and the Hawks got out over their skis and took the Houston Rockets too lightly which led to this losing skid.
But he cited the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers’ zone forcing the Hawks into perimeter play.
He also noted the Hawks aren’t shooting the ball well from beyond the arc, mentioning the injured Bogdan Bogdanovic as reinforcement. But he added they cannot wait for Bogdanovic to return before they figure out their issues.
Nearly every player the Hawks lost this offseason was a floor-spacer from Danilo Gallinari who was traded to bring in Dejounte Murray to Kevin Huerter who was traded for luxury tax reasons to Delon Wright who left in free agency. Young commended Justin Holiday for snapping out of his shooting slump by hitting 4-of-5 threes.
But it has been Murray’s play that has been most difficult for the Hawks to overcome.
“Hasn’t been great for Dejounte Murray the last 10 games,” tweeted ‘Locked on Hawks‘ host Brad Rowland. Did have his career high with 39 points in there but only averaging 18/5/5 on 50.2% TS. Also, the Hawks are -7.6 with Murray on the court and +7.4 with Murray off the court in that sample.”
That plays back into Young’s point of teams playing zone and forcing the Hawks to take more threes which they are struggling at.
Young noted Murray’s penchant for the mid-range but zone makes it tougher to get clean looks.
Murray’s raw numbers look fine over the losing streak with 23 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game and he is shooting over 48% from deep. But his offensive rating in that span is still just 105 while his defensive rating is 117.
For context, Murray’s career defensive rating is 108 while his offensive rating is 106. His offense has curtailed some, but defense is a big bugaboo for a player who thrives in transition.
Young took ownership for an ill-advised lob to Collins late with the Hawks down that was blocked saying he “hurt us” at that moment with his pass. But this trend of blowing double-digit leads has existed throughout this skid so, while the Hawks certainly need to score more, they also need to figure out how to lock in and get stops when they need them.