The Atlanta Hawks are trying something new this season, winning. In their last six games, the Hawks have gone (5-1) and will look to continue their recent success this afternoon against the one team to beat them in that streak, the Pacers.
Watching the Atlanta Hawks over the last six games has been a sign of things to come for a team focused on rebuilding. The wins have been fueled by rookies Kevin Huerter and Trae Young, with big contributions coming from second-year player John Collins.
Collins has averaged a double-double at 18-points and 10-rebounds in their recent win streak. This production paired with Young’s ability to create shots has the Atlanta offense rolling over the past two weeks.
The problem for the Hawks is a lack of depth and little experience as the rookies attempt to learn how to close tight games.
Watching them fight in a last-second win over the Cleveland Cavs or in their overtime win against the hapless T-Wolves it has become apparent these rookies are quickly learning on the job.
Still, it will likely be a long season for the (11-24) Hawks. Five of those wins have come in the last six games pointing to the drastic change Atlanta has made.
While their offensive game has been inconsistent this season their starting five plays relentless defense during their recent stretch of success. Defensively Atlanta is opening up their offense hustling and closing out on shooters.
It is an intensity on defense they lacked during the first two months of the season. Now if they continue to play this brand of defense they will have a chance to turn their season around and play a respectable brand of basketball.
While winning may not be what the Hawk’s fans want to see (due to draft considerations) it is the right thing for this young Atlanta team to focus on. With their future already in place with Collins, Huerter, and Young Atlanta needs to allow this young core to know what it is to win.
Learning how to win and close games in the NBA is a tough learning curve. These three young players need all of the experience they can have with succeeding as Atlanta attempts to build a contender once again.
Today’s game against the Pacers will be another shot at a solid playoff contender. The Pacers have been the only team to beat the Hawks in two weeks and will give the team a test today of where they are and in what direction their season could be headed as the rebuild continues.