Many Hawks fans have expressed their concern with the play of Kyle Korver this season. Korver, at 34, is certainly not getting any younger and is in the midst of one of the worst shooting slumps of his career. Korver was close to becoming on the second player ever to recording a 50-50-90 season last year on his way to his first career all-star appearance. However, he has not seen the same success early this season. Korver is shooting just 42% from the field and a career worst 36% from behind the arc, and the numbers definitely raise the question of whether the Hawks need to find another starting option at the shooting guard position.
There is no doubt within the near future that the Hawks are going to have to start looking for or grooming another starting shooting guard option. Korver will eventually have to take a role on Atlanta’s bench or hang up the jersey at some point, but that time is not now. Even mired in a 2-27 slump from the field including a 1-23 mark from behind the arc, the three-point specialist has respectable shooting numbers. Prior to the slump, Korver was sitting around 43% from behind the arc and close to 48% from the field, both not far off from the numbers he put up in his All-Star season.
Korver was asked what changed in his game that gave him this newfound success a lot last season, and he always gave the same sort of response. Korver attributed a lot of his success to a new strength and conditioning program he participated in in the 2014 offseason. Unfortunately, due to the gruesome ankle injury he sustained in the 2015 Easter Conference Finals, the Hawks shooting guard had to spend most of his offseason recovering. He did not get anywhere near the same kind of reps he normally does, and it should really be to no one’s surprise that he has not gotten off to a blistering start. He also underwent elbow surgery, and this could be a big part of why he is slumping. Hopefully, the later he goes into the season, the more comfortable he will feel shooting the rock.
A lot credit to last year’s success was given to Korver for not just what he did with the ball, but what he did without the ball. He was constantly moving, and the opposing defense was often found paying too much attention to Korver, that other Hawks were able to get open for easy looks. Just because Korver has not shot the ball as well, does not mean he is not having that same effect on opposing defenses. The Hawks offense is moving as fluidly as ever, even with Korver struggling with his shot, and a lot of that has to do with just the simple presence of the best three-point shooter in the league. Teams still cringe every time he shoots the ball, and he still has shown the ability to use screens and get open effectively. Until that changes, Korver should start for the Hawks. It is just a matter of time before his shots just dropping, unlike athleticism, shooting does not deteriorate with age. The Hawks’ shooting guard will be just fine.