Three things we learned about the Hawks

Illustration by Myah Anglin |The Signal

The Atlanta Hawks still sit atop the Southeast Division. They picked up wins over the New Pelicans, Chicago Bulls, and Charlotte Hornets, with the lone loss coming to the Memphis Grizzlies. It was another excellent week for the Atlanta Hawks, who finished 3-1 and won their pivotal matchup against the Hornets on Sunday. Here are three things I saw this week. 

Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic’s simultaneous success

From Trae Young continuing to shine bright with 42 points against the Bulls on Friday to Bogdanovic’s 32-point shooting display on Sunday against the Hornets, the Hawks starting backcourt is seamlessly fitting well.

Young’s fourth 40-point game of the season led the Hawks to a win, and he now has 16 40-point games for his career and, in just his third season, passed Mike Bibby for seventh on the franchise’s all-time three-point shooting list. 

The two will continue to break milestones throughout their careers. 

Young’s leadership is something that has taken strides recently too. Young can beat you, passing or scoring the ball, making his teammates better and him an all-around offensive threat.

Despite many injuries, Atlanta is continuing to win

Atlanta is still waiting for Kris Dunn to play his first game. They missed De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, John Collins, Clint Capela, and Danilo Gallinari at some point last week. 

Collins will miss an additional 7-10 days with an ankle sprain. Reddish’s timetable is unknown; he has missed double-digit games due to soreness in his right Achilles’ heel. Hunter is still awaiting evaluation following a non-surgical procedure on his right knee last week. 

That said, Nate McMillan stepped in as the interim head coach and has led the Hawks to a 14-5 record since March 2 despite the injuries piling up, a feat that many did not anticipate. 

If Atlanta can get fully healthy before playoff time, this team will be a tough out. Adding all that talent back in the lineup with the pieces in place now, the Hawks have a chance to surprise teams this postseason. 

Overall defensive consistency must improve before playoffs

In a losing effort to the Pelicans last Tuesday, the Hawks allowed Zion Williamson to score 34 points on 12-18 shooting, seemingly exposing the Hawks pedestrian interior defense on the night. The Hawks defense simply didn’t have answers for Williamson but limited the rest of the team en route to a win.

Atlanta gave up 131 points to the Memphis Grizzlies in a losing effort. The Grizzlies also shot 54% from the field and 43% from three. Six Grizzlies scored in double-figures, led by Grayson Allen’s 30. 

Friday’s night matchup was no better as Zach LaVine torched Atlanta’s defense, especially in the first half with 39 points on 13-19 field goals and 7 of 9 from three. The Hawks limited LaVine in the second half as he only scored 11, but he finished with 50 points. Atlanta was missing some of their key defenders in Hunter and Reddish, but giving up that scoring outburst just won’t cut it. 

Of course, it is essential to bear in mind the injuries, but the Hawks still have a month to get healthy and return some of their key players in the lineup.