The Atlanta Hawks were ousted in the first round by the top-seeded Indiana Pacers. After a fascinating seven-round battle with the top seed, there have been arguments back and forth on whether it was a successful 2013-2014 campaign for the Atlanta Hawks; some say they had overachieved, some say they underachieved. Over the next couple weeks, we will break down the Hawks season and we will dish out grades for each of the Hawks players. Who played well, who was a disappointment, who will be back next year? We will dish out everything you want to hear about the Hawks past season, and what is to come ahead.
First, some quick requirements. We will only feature players that played in at least 10 games with the Hawks this season, so sorry Jeremy Tyler, James Nunnally, and Antawn Jamison; you were all part of the exciting journey in some capacity, but that is all the pub you will get in our season recaps.
Up on the docket today is big man Gustavo Ayon.
On July 29th, Gustavo Ayon was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Hawks after Ayon was placed on waivers by the Milwaukee Bucks. Ayon was another new addition for the Hawks this season that brought in an international flair. Ayon had played on the international circuit for the national team in Mexico and had played professionally in both Mexico and Spain before coming to the United States in 2011.
Ayon was one of many big men that the Hawks brought in to help their efforts to replace the production of the departed Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia. Ayon was advertised as someone who could defend and rebound the ball, but may be a little bit challenged on the offensive end. He would live up to that reputation for the Hawks this season.
Ayon started in 14 of the 26 games he appeared in, mostly due to the season-ending injury to Al Horford. Ayon’s season would also be cut short with a season-ending shoulder surgery on February 28th. In his short stint in Atlanta, Ayon averaged 4 points on over 50% shooting from the field while adding 4 rebounds in 16 minutes per game.
Ayon’s rebounding percentage, which is an estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the floor, was a team-best 16.9%, while his defensive rating (another metric that is an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions) was the best on the team as well.
Shining Moment: On February 12th, 2014, just one game before suffering his season-ending injury, Ayon had his best performance of the season. In a 21-point loss to the Toronto Raptor,s Ayon posted a career high 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting from the field. That night, Ayon also posted season highs in both minutes with 30 and rebounds with 10.
Letter Grade: C : We got a really good idea of what Gustavo Ayon is in this league, and that is a big body with a good feel for the game, but with limited offensive capabilities. Ayon grabbed a high percentage of rebounds while on the floor, but provided very little on the offensive end and at times he could even be considered a liability on that end of the floor. There is still value in a Gustavo Ayon in the NBA, but he is very much your average role player that can provide both rebounding and defense.
2014-2015 season outlook: Ayon is a free agent and you would think that his time spent with the Hawks this season might have been serviceable enough to entertain the idea of bringing Ayon back to provide depth off the bench. However, with Ayon coming off a shoulder injury and Atlanta investing in Mike Muscala, the Hawks may go a different route.