Posted Dec 2 2011 12:27PM
To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.
The Atlanta Hawks are one of only seven teams to have made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons and one of only three (the Celtics and Lakers are the other two) who have made the conference semifinals in each of the last three.
But no one would list the Hawks among the league's title contenders. They've seemingly reached their ceiling and have nowhere to go but down. The numbers clearly indicate that they weren't all that good last season anyway.
Pace: 91.6 (27)
Offense: 103.2 (21)
Defense: 104.6 (15)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
The Hawks managed to finish six games over .500 despite getting outscored by 67 points, a differential that would translate to a 38-win team. Only one team, the Charlotte Bobcats, overachieved in regards to their point differential more than the Hawks did.
|Biggest difference between games won and expected wins|
|Exp W = (82)*((Pts^16.5) / ((Pts^16.5)+(Opp^16.5)))|
In terms of point differential per possession, the Hawks were the eighth-best team in the Eastern Conference and the 18th-best in the NBA. Eight of their 38 losses came by 20 or more points, and four of those were by more than 30 points. More often than not, when the Hawks lost, they lost big.
The Hawks dropped nine games in the standings from the previous season, but statistically, their drop-off was far worse. On a per-possession basis, only two teams regressed more last season than the Hawks did.
|Largest efficiency differential (OffRtg -- DefRtg) regression|
The Cavs lost the best player in the league to free agency. The Jazz lost a Hall of Fame coach and a top-15 player in the middle of the season (they were being outscored by just 0.4 points per 100 possessions when Jerry Sloan retired). Meanwhile, the Hawks had minimal roster turnover, but fired Mike Woodson, the coach that led them to a win increase in five straight seasons.
Under Larry Drew, the Hawks weren't just a worse team. They were a very different team.
Drew's intention was to improve his team's offense by increasing ball movement. And the Hawks did go from assisting on 56 percent of their field goals in 2009-10 (16th highest rate in the league) to assisting on 61 percent of their field goals last season (fifth highest). But the increased ball movement obviously didn't help them in terms of scoring.
Drew's new system took the third-most efficient offense in the league (in Woodson's last season) and turned it into the 21st-most efficient offense. Only the Cavs (-9.3 points per 100 possessions) regressed more than the Hawks, who scored 5.7 points per 100 possessions fewer than they did the previous season.
The Hawks didn't shoot that much worse than they did the previous season, but they grabbed fewer offensive rebounds, turned the ball over more and got to the free throw line less.
Across the board, the Hawks grabbed fewer offensive rebounds last season. But the player whose offensive rebounding percentage regressed most was Josh Smith. He grabbed 6.1 percent of available offensive rebounds last season after grabbing 9.0 percent of them in 2009-10.
That regression goes hand-in-hand with Smith's shot selection. The farther Smith was away from the basket, the less chance he had to get a rebound. And last season, he was shooting far from the hoop a lot more often than he was in 2009-10. He took less than half of his shots from inside the paint, after taking nearly 3/4 of his shots from the paint in '09-10.
|Josh Smith's shots, last four seasons|
Smith's effective field goal percentage only dropped a fraction (from 50.5 to 50.2 percent), but along with deeper shots came fewer free throws. He attempted 106 fewer freebies than he did the year before.
Smith wasn't the only Hawk whose shot selection changed dramatically. After attempting 69 percent of his shots from the paint in his first three seasons, Al Horford attempted more than half of his shots from outside the paint last season.
Like Smith, Horford got to the glass and free throw line less often. His offensive rebounding percentage regressed from 9.7 percent in '09-10 to 8.1 percent last season. His free throw attempts fell to 2.5 per 36 minutes, down from 3.4.
Horford's free throw attempt rate (FTA/FGA) put him in the company of mostly finesse big men.
|Lowest free throw attempt rate among players 6-foot-10 or taller|
|Minimum 500 FGA|
At the deadline, the Hawks traded Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford and Maurice Evans to Washington for Hilton Armstrong and Kirk Hinrich. Bibby's overall production has dropped in the last couple of seasons, but his shooting hasn't. And he was seemingly the glue that was holding the Hawks together.
Bibby had the Hawks' best raw plus-minus last season (plus-138 in 1,673 minutes). Atlanta was better both offensively (106.0 points scored per 100 possessions) and defensively (102.8 points allowed per 100) with him playing.
The Hawks' three most-used lineups all included Bibby, and all three were pretty good.
|Hawks most-used lineups|
Pace: 88.7 (12)
Offense: 97.0 (13)
Defense: 102.5 (5)
The Hawks were anemic offensively throughout the postseason, but they were able to shut down the Orlando offense in the first round. Typical of the 2010-11 Hawks, they were outscored by 23 points in a series they won in six games.
Game 1 of the conference semifinals in Chicago was the Hawks' best offensive game of the postseason, but the Bulls held them to just 93.4 points per 100 possessions over the next five games.
Jamal Crawford (21-for-63, 4-for-23), Smith (35-for-90, 0-for-9), and Marvin Williams (9-for-32, 0-for-3) combined to shoot just 35 percent from the field and 11 percent from 3-point range in the series.
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