The changes on offense are clear as day for the Atlanta Hawks.
Under Mike Buzenholzer, the ball movement was impeccable. The team chemistry built within his season during the 60-win season was some of the best team basketball the NBA has seen in years. However, the offense was always run at a very slow pace. They would set up their offense and played more of a half-court offense.
Bring in Lloyd Pierce, who was deemed a defense-first coach when hired. That, and the addition of young playmaker Trae Young, have given Atlanta a completely new flavor of basketball.
For those wanting an exact definition of this advanced stat, pace is the amount of possessions a team uses per game. Now of course, this has its drawbacks. The more possessions you create for yourself will create more opportunities for your opponent. In theory this could wear opposing teams out, but NBA players are some of the best athletes in the world.
If you have been wondering why the Hawks’ games have been so high scoring on both sides, here is why:
The Hawks are running the highest pace of any team in the NBA… and it is not even close.
Of all NBA players who have played in over 15 games this season and average over 15 minutes played per game, the Hawks have 9 of the top 11. (Stats coutesy of NBA.com).
As a team, the Hawks have the highest pace at 108.3. In Mike Budenholzer’s tenure as head coach, the team averaged a pace of 96.26.
The irony of the situation? Milwaukee is actually fourth on pace at 106.1. Perhaps personnel is a reason for the sudden change for Coach Bud.
In no way is this supposed to be quantative evidence that suggests that the Hawks are really some great team or are underachieivng. It is merely statistical evidence that the Hawks are playing a new, exciting style of basketball. In fact, the 2014-15 60-win season actually had the lowest pace of any team Coach Bud coached in Atlanta.
This is simply a reminder that your eye test has not failed you, Hawks fans. Even though the Hawks may not win too many games this year, they sure are exciting.