Atlanta is on pace for 48 wins this year. It’s offensive efficiency is down 2%. It’s defensive efficiency is down 1%. And yes, even the rebound rate has fallen off – down 2% to last in the league.
The Hawks lack of rebounding leads to certain limitations.
1 – SECOND-CHANCE OPPORTUNITES AT THE RIM
Atlanta ranks 27th in offensive rebounding percentage. Because the team offensive rebounds at such a low rate, the opportunities to obtain putbacks is at a rate 37% below the league average.
The Hawks have a terrific efficiency (8th in the NBA) once they are able to secure the offensive rebound. On these putbacks around the rim, Atlanta would score 2 more points per game at the rim if they were able to increase their offensive rebound percentage to the league average.
2 – THEY MUST OUTSHOOT OPPONENTS
The lack of extra opportunities means that the Hawks have to shoot a high percentage in order to make up the difference in points. The Hawks were third in effective field goal percentage last year and are fifth this year.
Atlanta is 18-4 this season when it has the same or a better effective field goal percentage than its opponent, and 3-11 when it does not.
3 – PLAYING DEFENSE LONGER
The Hawks rank 27th in defensive rebound percentage. Their rate of winning contested defensive rebounds is 28th in the league. Opponents have approximately three more offensive plays per game than Atlanta.
It may not seem like much. The average offensive NBA play is 10.6 seconds this season, which means the Hawks are playing defense about 32 seconds longer than they play offense per game.
Peter Newmann is an analyst and writer who spent 10 years at ESPN, 8 as the NBA senior researcher working 24/7 on the league. He wrote game notes for crews, articles for ESPN.com, analysis for studio shows, and regularly assisted reporters and writers. Follow him on Twitter, and check out his Web site, www.allball365.com.