The Atlanta Hawks have the fastest pace in the NBA according to ESPN. But despite ranking third for points scored and second for assists, they still have a lot of defensive issues which are contributing to their low win-loss record this season. Enter Dennis Schroder who is carrying an offensive rating of 114 at just 25 years old as he leads them with 15.6 shots per game

The “hawks nba” is a team that has been struggling recently. Their offense is the reason why they are not being exposed for their flaws.

Why His Offense Helps Hide Flaws for Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young, despite earning two All-Star appearances in four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, is a divisive NBA player. Despite the buzz generated by his long-range shooting, slick passing, absolute command of the pick-and-roll game, and offensive charisma, he loses ground in certain basketball circles due to defense that may be characterized as “porous” or “nonexistent.”

But make no mistake: Young is a game-changing superstar who deserves every bit of the praise he’s gotten thus far, and reasonable criticisms of his defense, or lack thereof, shouldn’t detract too much from his overall position.

Not only does his scoring skill more than compensate for his defensive shortcomings, but the Hawks are also better equipped to cover up the flaws in the second half of the 2021-22 season.

Offense is more important to Trae Young than defense.

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A credible justification of Trae Young’s defense, like Trae Young’s defense itself, does not exist.

Young’s frail 6-foot-1, 164-pound physique limits him against a broad range of opponents, and that’s assuming he even wants to get involved. He lollygags on the defensive end much too often, failing to stay with an assignment or make a good rotation to save energy for the side of the court where he can do so much more damage. The Hawks try to keep him hidden on the simplest assignments, but opponents often target him with swaps that negate such choices.

Young, on the other hand, overcomes it all with his jaw-dropping mix of volume and scoring effectiveness.

Following the All-Star break, the Oklahoma product is averaging 27.8 points and 9.3 assists while shooting 50.1 percent on two-pointers, 38.3 percent on threes, and 89.8 percent at the free throw line. He’s the catalyst for practically everything the Hawks do offensively, creating many chances for his teammates with silky kick-out passes and a lethal floater game that allows for easy lobs around the rim.

Even the distance at which he’s prepared to let loose helps his countrymen since he puts pressure on the opponents as soon as he crossed the timeline.

Young has a usage rate north of 30 for the third straight season (a career-high 35.1 percent this season) while assisting on at least 45 percent of the shots his teammates make while he’s on the court (career-high 46.3 percent ). Only one other player in a qualifying season has met both of those criteria. Six times: Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, James Harden, LeBron James, John Wall, and Deron Williams.

Regardless of the measure you choose, the message is clear: Young’s defense deserves to be criticized, but his offense is so outstanding that he remains one of the most productive players in the league.

Young is ranked No. 2 on offense and 245th out of 250 eligible defensive players according to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR methodology. In all, he has 6.2 WAR, which is second only to nine players in the 2021-22 season. He has the No. 2 offensive score according to Sports Math Network’s TPA measure, and despite finishing dead last on defense, he is still ranked No. 14 overall.

Just 14 players have earned more win shares, which is more impressive when Young’s Hawks are still climbing toward a .500 record. He’s 11th in estimated wins, per Dunks & Threes. The list goes on and on, but rarely do the metrics stray from that overarching message of overall value.

And that’s with an Atlanta team that hasn’t done what it did so successfully last year: compensate for Young’s defense by fielding a well-balanced squad capable of mitigating any flaws at the point of attack.

The Atlanta Hawks are ready to take up the slack on defense.

The simple rebuttal to accusations that despite his defensive shortcomings, Young remains one of the most valued players in basketball is to point to Atlanta’s general lack of success.

His shortcomings on one end of the court seem to restrict the team’s potential (despite last year’s Eastern Conference Finals performance) and necessitate specialized roster development to have a snowball’s chance in hell of holding aloft the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

That line of reasoning has some merit, to be sure. Despite his notoriety, Young may never be the greatest player in the world until he channels his inner Stephen Curry and becomes an average (or, in Curry’s case, better than average) defender. When it comes to personnel selections, Atlanta will have to evaluate his flaws.

The Hawks, on the other hand, have previously shown they can come close to winning a championship, and they can get back on track in 2021-22 over the season’s final stretch.

De’Andre Hunter is the team’s top on-ball defender, but he hasn’t played well this season. He was out for about two months rehabilitating from a wrist injury, and when he returned, he wasn’t fully functional. He’s finally found his attacking stride and has looked lot more dynamic in recent weeks, and the rest and relaxation time he had when the NBA’s top players gathered in Cleveland should only help.

De'Andre Hunter and Clint Capela high-fiving for Atlanta Hawks

De'Andre Hunter and Clint Capela high-fiving for Atlanta Hawks The Atlanta Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter and Clint Capela high five during a game against the Orlando Magic. | Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

As important as the Hawks’ point-of-attack improvement is, they also need to be able to clean up behind Young. When the second line of defense can effectively defend the basket, the small point guard is free to risk for thefts without fear of penalties, and as a result, he frequently seems more energized.

When Clint Capela was defending them last year, they hit 52.9 percent at the rim. This year, that figure has risen to 60.8 percent, and the team’s overall performance has improved as well. In 2020-21, Atlanta allowed opponents to shoot 61.4 percent inside six feet, which increased to 64.2 percent in 2021-22.

That may not seem like a significant difference, but the team’s overall ranking has dropped from 12 to 24, and a reduction of almost three percentage points is a lot when facing 28.4 such shots each game.

Capela has been more successful as the season has proceeded, decreasing his individual rim-protection stats to 57.5 percent since the beginning of February, which is good news for the Hawks. According to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he not only had to play his way back into shape after rehabbing Achilles injuries over the offseason, which manifested in a drastically reduced explosion in the season’s first half, but he also had to overcome the lingering effects of a COVID-19 bout.

That improvement, along with the development of talented second-year big man Onyeka Okongwu, should help raise a Hawks defense that has dropped from 18th in defensive rating last year (112.1) to 27th this year (113.3). With greater concentration in transition and the eventual normalization of unsustainable high opponent three-point percentages, Atlanta should resemble the squad that reached the postseason’s final round last season.

This team isn’t designed to be a defensive force. It is, however, built up to account for Young’s defensive porosity and prosper in spite of it.

As the Hawks, who are presently ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 28-30, try to climb out of their early-season rut and secure a playoff berth that does not need a play-in game, defensive improvement is critical. Young’s offensive worth will easily outweigh his most glaring shortcoming if he doesn’t make the required adjustments, since he’ll be watching far too many playoff games from the comfort of his own sofa.

Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of or Basketball Reference and are current as of the All-Star break.

Trae Young Backs Ben Simmons: “I Can See Where Ben’s Coming From” RELATED: Trae Young Backs Ben Simmons: “I Can See Where Ben’s Coming From”

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