Hawks finding progress as end of regular season draws near

The Hawks have only nine games left in the regular season and even fewer practices remaining. Though the Hawks continue to hover around .500, coach Quin Snyder said he is seeing some more good habits setting in.

“You know, some of it, I think we’re just trying to continue to emphasize certain habits defensively, that I think we saw some progress and some of those just everything that we can do to help us protect the paint, beginning with getting back on defense and having a wall where they see bodies through a possession, or pick up points, people getting into bodies and being blocked, not getting beat in the middle, or we can help each other getting hits on the boards or protect the paint that way,” Snyder said.

On top of the defense, Snyder said he’s seen progress on offense with the team’s spacing and pace. With their defense allowing them to get out in transition faster, the Hawks have been able to capitalize on moving the ball efficiently and finding the right options.

Snyder has emphasized consistent movement to allow opportunities to read the defense and find the right option. This works to give the Hawks more ideas, especially in moments when the team isn’t running a set play.

“And then if you can recognize those situations and do them without a play, they become even more effective,” Snyder said. “So we’re trying to touch those things and do as much as you can. You can’t have contact. And I don’t think that makes sense right now. You get some guys that are banged up, and try to adjust so that people can participate even a little bit.”

That’s not to say the Hawks don’t have any set plays, of course. Snyder rolled in a play he used in Utah and that other teams have used this season, as well. But ahead of Wednesday’s game, Hawks guard Trae Young mentioned that the team hadn’t had a chance to fully practice it yet.

On the final play of the game Wednesday, with Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Saddiq Bey, De’Andre Hunter and John Collins on the floor, the Hawks began moving before Hunter, who was inbounding the ball, could get the ball in. He eventually did, and Collins gave the ball back to Hunter for a 3-point shot from the sideline. The shot didn’t fall, and the Hawks lost 125-124 to the Timberwolves.

Snyder said at practice Friday that he thought the Hawks executed the play fairly well, despite the final result.

“Whether a team switches or stays with our own, it’s hard,” Snyder said. “I think your expectation in that situation is we didn’t need a (3-pointer). But there’s a number of different options out of it, that’s me putting them in a tough situation. But I felt like we, with the exception of us moving before De’Andre got the ball. But those things give you an opportunity to run it again and do it better.”