Delaney had pretty good production in steals and defensive rebounds. But per CTG the Hawks allowed about the same offensive efficiency with Delaney on or off the court in non-garbage time. (However, they allowed far less transition chances with Delaney on the court.)
However, there is evidence that Delaney had a greater defensive impact once Mike Budenholzer started using him alongside point guard Isaiah Taylor. Lineups including that duo outscored opponents by 2.9 points per 100 possessions and were among the most effective defensive alignments for the Hawks, according to CTG data.
Coming into the season, Delaney projected to be the primary ball-handler off the bench. That changed when the Hawks signed Taylor. Delaney dropped out of the rotation until Budenholzer started playing him at shooting guard.
“For me, I had to take on more of a leadership role,” Delaney said. “I didn’t really have a role on the team coming into the season. I thought after last season I would have a bigger role. I didn’t really have a role, so I tried to be the best teammate possible even when I wasn’t playing and I think that’s what really got Bud’s attention. He could trust me more.”
Delaney is eligible to become a free agent this summer after making a total of $5 million over the past two seasons. How teams assess his value could depend on their view of how much an ankle injury has affected his play. Delaney finished the season on the injured list after surgery for an ankle injury that kept him out for the final month, and he said he’s had problems with the injury since his time at Virginia Tech.
“I can play in this league,” Delaney said. “I know I can be a lot better than what people have seen. People have seen flashes of what I can do. But I can be a legit player on a good team and I can be a leader on a team.”