Skip to main content

Atlanta Hawks November Mailbag

In this edition of the mailbag, we answer Atlanta Hawks fans' questions about the team's play, injuries, and more.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

For the past week, I have been stuck in the house quarantining. Similar to Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining, the time in solitude has been suboptimal. Since we are one month into the NBA season, now is a great time to answer fans' questions about the Atlanta Hawks.

What is up with Trae Young's shot?

Trae Young's shooting woes can be attributed to two factors - lack of floor spacing and just missing open shots. Opposing defenses have a much easier time scheming to stop Young when there are no shooters around him. Last season, Young had Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari, and Bogdan Bogdanovic around him, which kept opponents honest.

Secondly, Young is just mired in a shooting slump. On open shots (nearest defender 4-6 feet away), Young is shooting 25.6% from three and 37.5% from inside the arc. The good news is that his slump won't last forever. Young works too hard to let that happen. 

When will Bogdan Bogdanovic return?

Let's start with a timeline. Bogdanovic quietly had knee surgery in Southern California in late May. In early June, a Serbian National team doctor broke the news. A few days later, the Hawks organization confirmed the news.

According to all parties, the timeline for recovery was three months. September has come and gone, and Bogdanovic's recovery has stalled. I don't have any inside information, but either the organization is being overly cautious with him, or there was a setback.

Have they discovered the ideal role for John Collins in this offense?

The short answer is no. Collins' field goal attempts are down from 19 to 14.7 per 100 possessions. Atlanta will occasionally run sets designed to get Collins streaking toward the basket. However, that is few and far between. 

Why did they trade Kevin Huerter instead of John Collins?

Sacramento had the better deal for what Atlanta's front office wanted - a defensive-minded veteran wing, a player they could easily trade, and a draft pick. As everyone knows, the Kevin Huerter trade was a cost-cutting measure.

Is John Collins the ideal power forward for the Hawks?

Yes. John Collins is the ideal power forward for most teams in the NBA. It's the reason why other organizations constantly inquire about him. He's a low-maintenance player who does a lot of the team's dirty work. Unfortunately, right now, Collins is stuck in a shooting slump like Young.

John Collins, Trae Young, and Dejounte Murray celebrate a play.

John Collins, Trae Young, and Dejounte Murray during a game.

Are you surprised at AJ Griffin getting minutes so early (because of Nate’s “not playing rookies” precedent)?

Yes, I have been pleasantly surprised to see AJ Griffin get so much burn. The 19-year-old has already played more minutes than Jalen Johnson did during his rookie season. It speaks to the Hawks outside shooting problems and lack of bench production.

Is the Capela resurgence the real deal?

Yes, Capela's renaissance is real. He spent the summer touring the world and experiencing the finer things in life (plus working really hard). Capela has already logged more 17+ rebound games this season than last.

It's early in the season, but the Hawks are struggling shooting the ball. If this keeps up, what are some realistic options on the trade market to sure up the 3-point shooting?

Working the ESPN Trade Machine has never been my strong suit. However, if I were the front office, I would go one of two routes at the trade deadline - plunge into the luxury tax to get a third star or reinforce the second unit with a perimeter player. But it's November, and we have no idea what impact Bogdanovic will have on the court.

If you could only add one piece, what position would you prefer to be upgraded? Will you consider the year successful if the team end's in the playoffs without getting involved in the Play-In Tournament and has and exits after a first-round loss?

If Atlanta's front office wanted to upgrade the starting lineup, it would have to be at the three or four spots. The backcourt is set in stone, and it would be tough to find a center that Young likes more than Capela (plus, Capela is playing well so far). Looking at the bench, the frontcourt is solid, but the wings are wanting.

To answer your second question, no, a first-round exit is not a successful season in my book. Atlanta has two All-Stars and the financial flexibility to land another important piece at the trade deadline.

Lastly, the Sacramento Kings are the only team in the league with a longer championship drought than the Hawks. The only thing worse than failure for a sports franchise is apathy among its fanbase. The ownership group must make every move possible to contend for a championship now.

Recommended For You

Interview: Ice Cube

Interview: Mike Bibby

Interview: Nick Van Exel