The Atlanta Hawks have embarked on a journey to better themselves. It is valid for both the team and individual players. To the first point, GM Travis Schlenk expressed remorse for not making any deals last summer or at the deadline. This offseason, according to one observer, provides an opportunity for atonement.
There is a distinction to be made. It is not a demand for a blockbuster deal or the Atlanta Hawks to aid their division opponent.
Instead, the Atlanta Hawks must reflect on their shortcomings and one player’s growth.
Schlenk has already pushed that player, Onyeka Okongwu, to take his game to the next level. We might see him approach the “All-Defense” sort of player Schlenk believes he can be if they heed the analyst’s advice.
Leaving Onyeka Okongwu on the bench could be a big mistake for the Atlanta Hawks.
Schlenk pushed Onkongwu to improve his defensive rebounding in his leaving interview. He feels that if the former sixth-overall pick achieves that, he may be an All-Defensive team candidate. It is high praise for a guy who has yet to play in 60 games in a season.
Okongwu has promised to return with a jump shot next season.
Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report believes Okongwu can fulfill his ambitions and then some if given a chance.
But, as we saw with Cam Reddish, who eventually to the New York Knicks for a lottery selection. And Kevin Knox in January, individual success does not always transfer to team success.
That is not the case with Okongwu, as Hughes points out.
Okongwu averaged 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 1.8 assists in six start this season, shooting 67.6% from the field and 65 percent from the charity line. The Hughes pointed out that those figures aren’t quite up to Capela’s.
Although being primarily paint-bound restricts how varied the Atlanta Hawks’ attack can be. Capela was pleased to report that he was healthy enough to transition back onto littles after two years of Achilles injury.
The Atlanta Hawks: Hughes concludes his case by emphasizing the value of mobile big guys in the playoffs, when opponents may exploit mismatches. The Atlanta Hawks ability to swap your center onto an opposition point guard may help suffocate an opponent, as the Atlanta Hawks saw firsthand.
It will be interesting to see whether this means they must drop Capela in favor of the less-experienced Okongwu.
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