Walter Tavares: Could Rookie Help with Hawks Poor Rebounding?


The Atlanta Hawks are facing adversity early in the 2015-2016 season after losing 5 out of their 7 games.

Their most recent defeat came in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Saturday’s game was an indictment of the current dearth of rebounding prowess on the team, and inability to match the physicality of teams like the Cavaliers. Tiago Splitter‘s injury did not help matters, but even with him on the court, the Atlanta Hawks still were not able to contend with Cleveland’s ability to own the glass. The Cavs out-rebounded the Hawks 51-38.

-= Related: Atlanta Hawks Continue to Struggle Against Larger Frontcourts =-

The Atlanta Hawks enter the season (and still are) a threat in the Eastern Conference; but until they can more effectively secure rebounds against teams with a clear frontcourt advantage, they do not stand a good chance to return to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Atlanta Hawks acquired Tiago Splitter from the San Antonio Spurs this past summer in order to gain more size in the paint and improve their rebounding. Thus far Splitter has not made a significant impact, and poor rebounding remains the greatest deficiency of an Atlanta team that is more surgical and less physical in their schemes.

More from ATL All Day

Given the fact that the Atlanta Hawks continue to struggle against teams with a clear rebounding advantage, could 7’3” rookie center Walter Tavares provide a boost? Though Walter Tavares still has yet to play any significant minutes this season, and his game is unpolished at best, his size would immediately afford the Atlanta Hawks a better chance at securing offensive and defensive rebounds.

When facing teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Walter Tavares’s lack of an offensive game is not detrimental to the Atlanta Hawks. Tristan Thompson impacts the game for the Cavs without having much of an offensive skill-set, but is so important to what they do on both ends of the court. The same would apply for Walter Tavares if he was given the opportunity. 

More from Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta don’t need Walter Tavares to put up a double-double every night like Hassan Whiteside or Andre Drummond. Rather, all Tavares has to do is provide size in the paint and clean the glass. Even if Walter Tavares comes off the bench for ten minutes a game .

Last season while playing in the Spanish ACB League (thought by many as the second best professional basketball league in the world), Walter Tavares led the league in rebounding with 8.1 boards per game. If he can get 4-5 per game for the Atlanta Hawks, they instantly become a better and more physical team.

Next: Atlanta Hawks: 4 Observations from Cavaliers Loss

Do I think that Head Coach Mike Budenholzer will begin to afford Walter Tavares more minutes soon? I doubt it; but I do think that the Atlanta Hawks should at least consider getting creative with their rotation in order to put themselves in a better position to beat teams with rebounding advantage.