If you have watched an Atlanta Hawks game this season, it is easy to see a huge difference in the game flow. Fans joked all offseason at how the Hawks were trying to build a “Walmart brand” Golden State Warriors team when they drafted Trae Young and Kevin Huerter. It’s only been three games, but that’s actually exactly how they should be described.
Of course, the Warriors are way ahead in talent, and the Hawks will be bottom feeders in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta would be lucky to ever achieve the heights of the Golden State. However, the transition offense Lloyd Pierce has brought in gives them the scoring ability of a team like the Warriors. It is all about the X’s and O’s of the offense for a team that is sure to add more top draft picks in the coming years.
So what exactly is different?
The Hawks ranked last in frequency running a transition offense (12%) among all teams in the East last year. But with a new head coach and Trae Young running their offense, it was their most-used play type (30%) during the season opener.https://t.co/mJn1V9EOiE #TrueToAtlanta pic.twitter.com/oKFL1eKnag
— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) October 18, 2018
This is a huge difference Hawks fans, and it is no mistake. General manager Travis Schlenk came fresh from Golden State, where he saw possibly the greatest team of all-time built around this offensive model.
The Hawks are going for an up-tempo, spread out offense that relies on the pick and roll and three-point shooting. The NBA can thank Mike D’Antoni for introducing this playing style. His innovative offense for the Pheonix Suns hit the league by storm through his elite facilitator, and Trae Young’s idol, Steve Nash, with his sidekick Amare Stoudemire. D’Antoni had some failed stops along the way after this due to ball stoppers not allowing him to run his offense properly, but since he took over as the head coach of the Houston Rockets, his offense has become the trend in the NBA. More three-pointers are being shot now than ever.
Obviously, the addition of Young in itself was going to call for more transition offense by default. However, it is clear with the off-ball schematics that this is the look Lloyd Pierce is going for. Young will also love having John Collins setting picks for him when he returns from injury. His ability to finish around the rim with his newly expanded range will be a great fit next to the rookie point guard.
The results are already speaking for themselves. The Hawks scored 133 points against Cleveland, the highest total for the franchise in a regulation game since 2009. This was due to the team dropping 22 three-pointers, the most in a game in franchise history. They are now averaging 119 points per game.
The Hawks may not win many games this year, but one thing is for sure. They will be fun to watch.