Fit With The Atlanta Hawks
Zion Williamson is an excellent fit with the Atlanta Hawks and the Hawks are a great fit for him. Atlanta having passing savant Trae Young, would help create plenty of easy opportunities for Zion Williamson. Trae Young led the NBA in assists that led to dunks for the 2018-19 NBA season. He would be a threat to set the all time single season record for assist on dunks, with Zion finishing many of his passes. The fact that the Atlanta Hawks played at the fastest pace in the NBA last season, is tailor-made for the game of Zion Williamson. Atlanta’s style of play would provide a multitude of transition opportunities for Zion Williamson.
The Atlanta Hawks coaching and training staffs, did a great job of monitoring and limiting the minutes of young players such as Trae Young early in the season. This paid off as Young was tremendous late, playing his best basketball after the All Star break. He averaged an incredible 27.7 points and 9.2 assist after the break. This caution and care that the Hawks have shown for their players, would greatly benefit Williamson. Many NBA writers and experts also see Zion Williamson and the Atlanta Hawks as the best possible fit. Jeff Ziglett of USA Today expressed his thoughts on why the Hawks need Zion the most in this recent article. NBA Insiders Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton, ranked the Atlanta Hawks as the best spot for Zion Williamson to develop in this ESPN + article. (subscription required)
Zion’s Position with the Atlanta Hawks
John Collins is currently entrenched as the team’s power forward, but he does have the ability to play some center. He is currently one of the leading candidates for NBA Most Improved Player, after averaging a career high 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in his sophomore NBA season. Collins also shot a career high 34.8 percent from thee-point range last season and shot near 40 percent from behind the arch most of the year, before a late season slump. Center Alex Len also shot a career high 36.3 percent from three, forward Omari Spellman made 34.4 percent from downtown and center Dewayne Dedmon also shot a career high 38.2 percent from three-point range. Dedmon is an unrestricted free agent and the Atlanta Hawks would be wise use the pick that they are likely to receive from the Dallas Mavericks, to draft a big man who can protect the rim and stretch the floor, like Bol Bol or Goga Bitadze.
Rather Dewayne Dedmon returns to the Atlanta Hawks or not, the team currently has enough big men that can shoot the basketball, to allow head coach Lloyd Pierce to start Zion Williamson at the small forward position. Zion would then move to the power forward position, when John Collins is on the bench. Coach Pierce could stagger their minutes so that one of the forwards is always on the floor, during the meaningful minutes of a basketball game. Zion Williamson would also play center at times in small lineups. His versatility would allow coach Peirce, to use Zion at whatever position gives Atlanta the best matchup to exploit.
Zion Williamson can be used as the roll man on the pick and roll. The long-range shooting ability of Trae Young, also allows Zion Williamson to be the ball handler on the pick and roll at times. Can you imagine a Zion Williamson, John Collins pick and roll? Trae Young would certainly be a man who teams can not leave to help out on Williamson. More than just running pick and roll, Zion adds a good secondary ball handler overall, with the ability to grab a rebound and push the ball up the floor, while Trae Young spots up for transition three-point opportunities. The Atlanta Hawks would also be able to surround their big three with wing shooters such as Kevin Huerter and Taurean Prince. Zion would also be a dangerous weak side cutter, diving to the baseline for an easy dunk, should opposing defenses help off of him, in an attempt to stop Trae Young and John Collins in the pick and roll.