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 sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
Kyle Korver was acquired from the Chicago Bulls before the 2012-2013 season, and Hawks fans learned quickly what type of player Korver was. Korver was impressive for the Hawks in 2012-2013, but was an impending free agent. The Hawks lured the shooting guard away from several others suitors with a 4-year, $24 million dollar deal and the rest was history.
Korver made huge contributions for the Hawks this season, including leading the NBA in both 3-point shooting percentage and true shooting percentage.
Shining Moment: In Korver’s first game with the Hawks last season, he did not connect on a three-p0int field goal attempt, but then proceeded to make a three-point shot in 127 consecutive games, shattering Dana Barros record of 89 straight early in the season. Although it didnt seem like a record that would grab national headlines, the Hawks honored Kyle during the game, and nearly all the national media outlets would go on to shed some light on just how impressive the streak truly was. However, consistency was just one of things Korver brought to the table for the Hawks, and he would make far more than just one three in a game the majority of the time. Against the Sacramento Kings on December 18th, Korver would make 8 three pointers on 10 attempts from downtown, scoring a season high 28 points in an 18 point victory. Korver also had a huge night early in the season against the Lakers, scoring 22 points on 8-10 shooting including 6-6 from three-point land.
Letter Grade: A- 47% from three-point land and 65% true shooting percentage are truly remarkable, and there is no other way to describe Korver’s play this year for the Hawks. It seemed as if Korver never missed, and if he did you knew he was making the next one. Although you would have to think that the Hawks expected Korver to be one of the best shooters in the league when they signed him, they would be hard pressed to believe he would shoot this well. In addition to the great shooting from downtown, Korver also shot 92% from the free-throw line. I guess you could have grown accustom to the great shooting, and many people started focusing on Korver’s defense, where he was more than serviceable this year for the Hawks, often times guarding top-flight wing players. Korver also showed how well he fit into the ball movement offense, posting a career high 2.9 assists per game, almost a full assist more than his previous career high. When Korver played well for the Hawks, it seemed as if the Hawks played well.
2014-2015 season outlook: Korver is signed through the 2016-2017 season, so the Hawks will have floor space for a long time. With anyone that has a unique skill set, his value is some times debated, but there have been reports out there that Korver turned down more money to sign this four year deal with the Hawks, and from all accounts it seems that the relationship between the organization and Korver is very strong.
As I have stated on nearly every single report card, it is exciting for me to think about the prospect of the core of the Hawks back healthy together. Jeff Teague, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and Korver on the court together should be a dangerous offensive unit and as we saw at the start of last season should be extremely fun to watch. Korver will be playing with Team USA this summer, so it will be interesting to see if that experience has any affect on his game, one way or another. If you asked Kyle Korver to improve one aspect of his game, it might be turnovers, as he posted a career high in turnovers last season, but everything seemed to go right for Kyle this season.