The 2016-17 season started out with great promise for the #Hawks as they jumped out to a 9-2 start. This opening stretch included back to wins vs the Rockets at home, and the Cavs on the road. Coach Bud seemed to have the perfect setup. The first team liked to get the ball inside with alley oops to Dwight Howard or sometimes pick and rolls with Paul Millsap. The 2nd unit led by the explosive scoring of Tim Hardaway Jr. and efficiency of Mike Muscala, or Ersan Ilasova would give Atlanta to change the tempo of the game when needed, and keep the starters fresh.
Since then Atlanta lineups have at time seemed to be tossed together at random. Players seem at times to be ill at ease with one another on the court. The good ball movement which had been a Hawks trademark under Coach Bud, now constantly deteriorates in dribble fests ending in bad passes and missed shots.
They must choose whether they are a primarily a half court team using more pick an drolls with Millsap and inside out game with Howard. Or play more small ball with Millsap, Ilyasova, and Hardaway running more of an up tempo game. You can include Dwight Howard in this style too by having him operate as a ‘trigger man’ with outlet passes to ignite fast breaks like Bill Russell did with Celtics, Kareem with the Lakers, and even Tim Duncan late in his career at San Antonio
This team needs an identity if they want to be consistent winners. The question is do they have the will and patience to do it.