After an ugly loss to Milwaukee without superstar point guard Trae Young, the Hawks should still have hope. Injuries have ravaged this team, and although Cam Reddish hasn’t had the breakout year fans were hoping for, plenty of other guys have stepped up.
Reddish went nuclear before the 2019 season came to a halt, and while he overshadowed draft classmate De’Andre Hunter, Hunter is very young and developing nicely. He was a small disappointment last year due to his lofty draft position, but he has made a serious impact in 2020-2021 — especially last night.
Hunter DID notch this number in 42 minutes, but Dre shot 40% from three and 62% from the floor. He was very efficient, and while his shot selection was never a big issue, he’s finally capitalizing on his opportunities. His 39% mark from three may come down to earth a bit, but he has provided loads of shooting and improved defensively.
His rebounding and overall scoring are improving, and I think he’s growing into the impact three-and-d wing that the Hawks hoped they would get out of Virginia. While this 33 point game is a bit of an outlier, Hunter’s efficiency is what is really separating him. While I call him a franchise player, I’m not saying he’s already Kawhi Leonard on the perimeter, but he’s showing the Hawks that he will be an outstanding NBA player for years to come.
Clint Capela was essentially given to Atlanta for a non-lottery pick and Evan Turner. His revenge tour has been something to see.
Atlanta has had problems defending the interior and rebounding for years, and Capela has thrived playing with the crafty Trae Young. He’s averaging a career-high 14.5 boards per game, and 14.5 points per game is plenty of scoring with this high octane (when healthy) Hawks offense.
His 57% from the floor is exactly what Atlanta needs — good looks at the bucket and commanding attention from the perimeter. While Capela may be the last of a dying breed of traditional centers, his defense and rebounding have been invaluable for the Hawks — especially when considering Travis Schlenk stole him from the Rockets.
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