Monday, April 30, 2018

It is time to move on from Dennis Schröder

Dennis Schröder was given the best chance to prove he was a long term solution at point guard/floor leader for the Hawks this season, his last as a Hawk under Mike Budenholzer, and he failed. It is time for the Hawks to get the most they can for Dennis as the team goes into a new season and a new birth with a new coach.


Dennis was given the most usage and control he had ever had and posted slightly above average advanced stats and proved he was a super capable offensive player, but super lousy defensively and was just another guy on the floor as the leader of this team, not someone who made teammates better.

He likely maxed out on his counting stats, a.k.a. market value for a large portion of teams in the NBA, so moving him now is the best time to do so in that regard. The team will have a new coach, new players and will likely get younger if Dewayne Dedmon opts to move on, as it is likely he will. This will mean even less offensive efficiency as a whole for the Hawks, and Dennis will look like he took a step back, statistically, lowering his greatest trade value right now: his stats. Schröder looks good in some statistical areas and will still bring a good return, especially considering one of his best numbers, his age. At 24, teams can (and will) still gamble that Schröder has more ceiling to reach.

Because of this, the Hawks can, potentially, get the most for Dennis now, even with off the court issues. Acquiring more picks and continuing to build the future of this team is a good thing, especially if you have concluded, as I have, that Dennis is what he is at this point: An elite driving scoring point guard that needs to have the ball in his hands to be productive, and little else positive after that. Defensively and as a leader, he has not developed nor taken the public initiative to be more than he is, even with the excellent player development of Mike Budenholzer and the staff at his back for all these years. 

It is also a good time to part ways with Dennis because of the position he plays on this team. He is a high usage player, so if you keep him on this team, it will, by role, keep the other players who have a longer term future of this team from stepping into more production because Dennis will be doing his 27-30% raw usage thing out there. If the Hawks end up taking Luka Doncic in the draft, this is a slam dunk, given the desire to get Doncic in front of this team and make it his own. Even in the absence of that, however, players like Prince, Collins and whoever the Hawks take at the top will need room to develop, and the usage that goes with that.

The Hawks did the right thing by trading Jeff Teague away to Indiana when it was clear they had reached their peak with him, even if a season too late. They needed to know if Dennis Schröder could take them further and if the young point guard could develop into a all-star level point guard and future leader of the Hawks. Now we have seen this is not the case, and it is time to move him on and acquire another player to lead this new iteration of the Hawks in the 20's.

Disagree? Agree? Let me know in the Comments Area or on the Twitter Area @JasonWalkerNBA.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

2018 NBA Draft: Mo Bamba Fever

I have Mo Bamba Fever.

For long time readers and folks who know my basketball proclivities, this will not be a surprise. I have a well known affection for shot blockers and wingspan, so the fact that I am being drawn to a player with 7'9 wingspan and massive shot blocking instincts should not be that big of a spoiler.

Bamba, however, has shown a lot more to me than just highlight reel blocked shots, though there are many of those, more so than anyone in this lottery group, for sure. Watching his tape, he has shown a more developed offensive game than I saw Rudy Gobert carry into his draft season. He has a solid touch on his jump shot, hook shot and off the square/around the basket shots. He moves his feet very well, I believe, on both sides of the floor, making the most of his defensive presence by playing both his man on rolls to the hoop and the ball handler, incredibly disrupting those plays and ably covering for his beaten teammate.

I love players like Rudy Gobert and Giannis Antetokounmpo going into drafts (and wrote about them at that time) because they show physical differentiations that other players will never have. There is more to it than just differentiation, obviously, because they have to play basketball well, too, but once you have established that they aren't lost on the basketball court, then their physical attributes raise them above their peers.

In this draft, Bamba is the only one that fits the bill. I love Marvin Bagley's offensive skill set, Luka Doncic's versatile offensive game, Jaren Jackson Jr's defensive instincts and Deandre Ayton's athleticism and size, but Bamba's combination of game changings defensive skills, nose for the basketball around the glass and able jump shot make him my (current) favorite target for the Hawks in the lottery.

This is good for me, as a fan and ardent Bird Watcher, because this means the Hawks won't have to win the lottery to get Bamba, as Ayton and Doncic are, currently, consensus 1-2 in this draft and there are many who will always have bias against longer players like Bamba for looking more unpolished, like they did with Gobert.

The highlights above, from YouTube channel NBA Scouting Report (who is doing the best DraftExpress impression with their approach, of which I approve since Givony and Schmidt have moved to ESPN and are not producing such content), show the good and bad of Bamba (and other lotto picks, too, in other clips) and Bamba leaps off the screen to me more than any other pick.

So put me in the Bamba camp, no matter where the Hawks are picking. Even the top pick of the draft.

Disagree? Like other clips of lotto picks? Let's discuss in the Comments Area or on Twitter @JasonWalkerNBA.

Friday, April 13, 2018

NBA Draft 2018: A Quick Look at the Top Six for the Atlanta Hawks

Let's make this quick as there will be more to come as the Hawks know what pick they will have in mid-May when the Lottery occurs.

DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

At first look, the center that most call the #1 pick in this draft looks less like Joel Embiid than you would like, should the Hawks win the lottery. He has an okay college 3-point shot, does not look terribly long as a defensive disruptor and his skills look a little raw on both ends. He is a legit 7-footer, so that's something, but would love to see a more polished player with more projection in this spot.

Luka Doncic, Guard, Real Madrid

He is interesting, though this is someone I want to watch more as the draft season wears on through the spring. By some accounts, he is part Toni Kukoc, but with more a point guard player mentality, rather than Toni, who was a very capable passer, but not an offensive initiator in his time in the NBA. Doncic could fill the playmaker spot that we see Ricky Rubio filling into in Utah, but with a much taller frame to boot.

Jaren Jackson, Jr., PF, Michigan State

Defensively, he is exciting, and may project best into the recent Threes and D mold more than anyone else in this grouping. However, I am not convinced of his offense, which looks less than fluid and his body size is scrawny. I do love a shot-blocker, however, and JJJ definitely fits the mold, averaging a higher block rate than Ayton, easily.

Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke

The most polished offense player I have seen is Bagley, who is very long, can play either back to the basket or facing and is super aggressive on the offensive end. He is a scorer and a good one, even finishing above the rim consistently and authoritatively. His defensive side is almost a zero, but he has the size and length to be a factor if coached. He reminds almost immediately of Julius Randle, but taller and with more above the rim capabilities.

Michael Porter, SF, Missouri

We were robbed of seeing Porter, who came from high school as maybe the most electric scorer in the country, since his back injury cost him nearly the entire season. When he returned, he was not physically the same, which is obviously concerning. Did he lose even one level of his physicality? Will the back injury project as chronic (if you can do such a thing)? We will see if he allows teams to check the back during the draft process and it will be a major red flag if he will not. If his back is fine, he is a creative and skilled scorer, maybe like Blake Griffin coming from Oklahoma. But that is a big if.

Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

Bamba looks great to me as a defensive center in the mold of Rudy Gobert. He is risky because, while Gobert has become a playoff caliber force, there is no guarantee Bamba will develop the same way. Still, how he might fit into a Mike Budenholzer coached team could be a factor here.

What do you think the Hawks ought to do at the top? Is there someone else you would consider up here? Let me know in the Comments area or hit me up @JasonWalkerNBA on the Twitter machine.

Back again!

THHB is back after another short stint to look at the Atlanta Hawks. You can hear our takes on The Bill Shanks Show from time to time and on Twitter @JasonWalkerNBA.

With shutting down a successful four-year run in Daily Fantasy Sports, there will be some time to mark any pressing (to me) news with the Good Guys, A.K.A The Atlanta Hawks.

Since my last post was COMPLETELY wrong and much changed with the team last offseason, and a regular season that has landed the Hawks in the heart of a pretty strong lottery pick, let's pick things back up.

Thank you!