Monday, October 18, 2010 Schuhmann: Getting back, getting on the boards and more stats questions

John Schuhmann wonders if the Atlanta Hawks can improve their transition defense in 2010-11:
As was noted on Monday, the Hawks are changing up their offense under new coach Larry Drew, but it would seem that their defense is what needs more work. Atlanta ranked third offensively and 14th defensively last season. While the Hawks made few changes to their roster this summer, they can easily improve by making transition defense a priority.

Atlanta was the best team in the league last season at taking care of the ball, committing just 12.8 turnovers per 100 possessions. That will likely change with their new offense. But even when they weren't turning the ball over last season, only five teams allowed more fast-break points (17 per 100). By any measure, they had the league's worst transition defense.

By doing a better job of getting back on defense, the Hawks would be sacrificing some offensive rebounds, but it would be worth it. Their ratio of second-chance points to offensive boards (1.15) was below average (1.21) anyway.
I would not be shocked if the difference between the Hawks and a league average ratio was down entirely to Zaza Pachulia's predilection for needing two or three offensive rebounds top convert a putback.

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