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.
Being evaluated today is veteran, Elton Brand.
At age 34, Elton Brand was 15 years removed from being the number one overall draft pick in the 1999 NBA draft. Brand was eight years removed from his last all-star appearance, and six years removed from a ruptured Achilles tendon; most people would say that it was time for Brand to hang up the sneakers, however Brand was a pleasant surprise for the 2013-2014 Atlanta Hawks.
In the first month of the season, Brand was held out of eight games, a 34 year old veteran on the outside of the rotation looking in, and on two occasions, Brand was actually inactive, but Brand would get his chance, and only miss one game for the remainder of the season.
Despite posting career lows with 5.7 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game, Brand found a way to contribute to the Hawks and be a important member when the Hawks were thrashed with injuries.
Shining Moment: Brand had three double-doubles on the season including a 20 point 11 rebound game in 35 minutes, while shooting 7-11 from the field in a blowout loss to the Washington Wizards. I am sure that 18 points on 12 shots in 22 minutes in a 26 point victory against the Philadelphia 76er’s (the team that waived him) would rank near the top of the list for Brand as well. On two separate occasions Brand blocked five shots in a game, which might be what the Hawks faithful will remember him for most.
Letter Grade: B- Brand became a fan favorite, despite posting career lows in the previously mentioned statistics, however if you dig deeper into the stat book, he was much better than advertised. Brand had a career best 54% Effective Field Goal Percentage, and posted a very respectable 56% True Shooting Percentage. Brand also blocked shots at the highest percentage of his career, and despite seeing limited minutes most nights, found a way to pull down a high percentage of defensive rebounds as well. Brand found a way to be a walking big body, when the Hawks literally had no one else, and for spurts really thrived in that role.
2014-2015 season outlook: For 1 year and four million dollars, I think the Hawks feel pretty good that they brought in Elton Brand. Brand contributed in many different ways, but father time caught up to him quite a while ago; and if he doesn’t decide to retire the Hawks hopefully have a full contingency of front court players where they would be able to move on from Brand.