Capela, 29, has given the Hawks plenty on defense as a reliable rim protector. He has the ability to be in the right place at the right time not only to block shots, but also to break up plays and generate more opportunities for the Hawks.
One of Capela’s more memorable plays from last season included a behind-the-back steal that cut off a wraparound pass from former Wizards guard Jordan Goodwin.
But it wasn’t only Capela’s ability to break up plays that gave the Hawks plenty of offensive opportunities. His work on the glass played a role, too. Capela ranked seventh in the NBA in total rebounds per game and third in offensive rebounds per game.
Offensively, Capela proved to be a top pick-and-roll target last season. He ranked 12th in the league in pick-and-roll possessions, averaging 2.9 per game. He ranked seventh in the league, scoring roughly four points per game in the pick-and-roll.
Onyeka Okongwu (9.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.3 bpg, 63.8 FG%, 30.8 3FG%)
When Okongwu, 22, stepped into the 2022 offseason, he promised to return with a jumper. He made good on that promise, averaging 0.2 3-point attempts per game in his third season with the Hawks.
But Okongwu’s jumper came more in handy when defenders looked to close out Hawks shooters on the perimeter. That often left Okongwu alone from midrange, where he made 46.7% of his jumpers from 15-19 feet away from the basket.
The improvements Okongwu made in the offseason on his jumper inspired confidence from the Hawks, and coaches sometimes would draw up plays that included jumpers from the corner for the big man. Okongwu struggled from the left corner, going 0-of-4. But from the right, he knocked down four of his seven attempts.
On defense, though, Okongwu continued to show growth. He remains a strong defender in the post, and under the guidance of coach Quin Snyder he showed growing patience to limit fouls. His quick feet allow him to handle switches.
Bruno Fernando (3.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 52.7 FG%)
The Hawks acquired Fernando, 25, at the trade deadline last season. However, he saw limited minutes with the team because of the relatively good health of Capela and Okongwu. He suited up for eight games for the Hawks, averaging only five minutes per game.
But the Hawks need Fernando’s added depth in the coming season, particularly after the Hawks moved forward John Collins to the Jazz in July. Collins logged 8% of his minutes at center, particularly when Capela missed 10 consecutive games in January with a calf strain.
So, though Capela and Okongwu will eat up the majority of the minutes at center, Fernando provides the Hawks with some depth.