What’s in the Middle for the Hawks


Old School or new school? The Hawks have been successful the past three seasons with the motion/triangle/hybrid/San Antonio-up-tempo/ get points out of the pinch-post/ offense. It has been successful but it does have flaws.

HorfordThe Hawks move the ball well and have multiple players touching the ball who are constantly involved in the offense. The bad – There is no clear go-to-guy at the end of games, missed three-point shots hurt rebounding opportunities and there is not a sure-fire paint threat for needed baskets.

With Al Horford coming into free agency and the team wanting to keep him, big decisions need to be made. What is the future of the 5-position? Al Horford has shot more three-point shots the last three seasons than he did in his entire career. That means one of your best bigs is on the perimeter and can’t rebound all of the time. 

What about Edy Tavares? At 7’3” he is a traditional center and apparently the future in the middle.

The Hawks finished 28th in rebounding in 2015-2016. They were out-rebounded by 37 in their game before their elimination game against the Cavaliers! 37! Ball movement and playing outside did not help them in a game they lost by one point 100-99. More rebounds would have made a difference in playoff seeding and certainly in the series against the Cavaliers.

The Hawks shot 12 and 14 free-throws respectively in their final two playoff games and why? Perimeter shooting and no inside presence.

Moving forward the Hawks have to figure out the identity of the big man on the team. Kyle Korver will be 36 next season and much of what he did helped the Hawks shape their offensive identity. There is not another Kyle Korver he is special. Shooting is going to change on this team and I think the Hawks need to work their offense inside-out.

If you are going with Tavares at center, why not go after an established big man who plays the traditional 5 until Edy is ready. Tiago Splitter will be coming off of injury and will be over 30 so the Hawks need to get serious about the big man business.

New school has been fun to watch but old school may be the way to go – get a big man in the middle now.

…And there it is.