Wednesday, March 10, 2010 Schuhmann: Hawks need to shore up 'D' to earn a better playoff spot

John Schuhmann thoroughly and accurately dissects a mediocre defensive team. The crux:
The Hawks' worst problem, however, is their transition defense, which may be the worst in the league. Their opponents score 17.4 fast break points per 100 possessions (sixth most in the league), but because the Hawks are the best in the NBA in not turning the ball over, those fast break points are coming mostly on missed and made shots.

In fact, if you subtract a team's turnovers from its opponents' fast-break points, the Hawks have the worst differential in the league: +4.7 per 100 possessions. Only Toronto (+3.5) is even close. Contrast that number with Boston (-4.7), Orlando (-3.6) and Cleveland (-1.4) and you can see quickly how Atlanta can get better defensively.
Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford are poor defensive players. They aren't going to become competent overnight in their thirties*. They don't get offensive rebounds: Bibby's OR% is 1.1; Crawford's is 1.6%. There's no (good) reason** they (and Joe Johnson, OR%: 3.0) can't get back on defense better and allow their teammates who do defend well to join in on the prevention effort.

*I realize I'm giving Crawford a 10-day benefit of the doubt.

**I also realize that Jamal Crawford watches the ball until a shot (often his) until it goes in or someone gains control of the ball before transitioning to defense. Hence the late addition of "good."

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