Atlanta Hawks mid-season review

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks reached the mid point of the season with a 23-18 record which is good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Peachtree Hoops takes a look at the first half and hands out midseason grades.

The Atlanta Hawks enter the midpoint of the season with a 23-18 record and are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. Below I take a stab at handing out letter grades for the team's performance in the first half. As you will see, there are a lot of B's and C's because essentially that is how this team has performed during the first half.

Devin Harris

The biggest problem with Devin Harris this season has been health. He has only played in 27 of the team's 41 games thus far while averaging 8.7 points and 2.5 assists. He is shooting a respectable 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range. As with most of his teammates, he has seen an abnormal dip in free throw shooting where he is shooting a career-worst 64 percent.

Personally I like Harris better as a point guard than as a shooting guard but he has been an overall positive influence on the team this season. Coming in he looked like he might be a potential trade piece but the injuries may have diminished that somewhat.

Grade - B

Al Horford

There is going to be a little bit of a reoccurring theme with both Horford and Josh Smith when it comes to grades. Its not as though Horford has put up bad numbers averaging 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists on 53 percent shooting. However, with Joe Johnson gone, many were expecting a much more dramatic leap. At times Horford has looked passive at both ends of the floor and reluctant to mix it up inside. Still he has been solid on the boards all season and a capable and willing passer. His grade is a C because he is judged on a different curve that that of his teammates.

Grade - C

John Jenkins

If you had told me during the preseason that John Jenkins would be averaging 11 minutes a game by game No. 41 I would have told you that you were crazy. I worried then how Larry Drew would find minutes for the rookie but a rash of injuries has solved that. With Lou Williams lost for the year, it looks like Jenkins will get an opportunity. He made his first start on Monday and floundered but has displayed some skills early this season. We knew the guy could shoot but we have also seen him work hard defensively and he is hardly the revolving door that many thought he might be. If there is anything to complain about it is that he has been a little slow to acclimate himself into the offense when he is on the court with the starters. With more time that should come.

Grade - B

Ivan Johnson

Ivan is averaging 5.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. That is slightly down from last season but he is playing almost four fewer minutes than a year ago. He is shooting 52 percent from the floor, is fifth on the team in PER and tied for first in defensive rating. Yet he has played in just 33 of the 41 games this season. Now I have suspected that Ivan's absence at times has been his own fault but the team rarely announces those sorts of things so we won't consider them here. For me it is hard to see how anyone could expect more from Johnson. #FreeIvan

Grade - A

Kyle Korver

Korver has long been thought of as a specialist in the game but the Hawks have asked him to be a much more complete player this season. The offensive numbers are there, scoring 10.7 points on 45 percent shooting from the field and beyond-the-arc. He is averaging 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in just under 30 minutes a night. If anything jumps out at you it is his career-worst free throw shooting at 79 percent. Like Jenkins, we knew Korver could shoot but could he do the other things to stay on the floor?

That has been slightly a mixed bag. The Hawks don't have a number of defensive stoppers on their team but early on built a strong defensive unit. Korver fit into that nicely but rarely will he have the advantage defensively over any opponent. Starting him at small forward isn't the best case scenario but he has performed reasonably well during the first half.

Grade - B

Anthony Morrow

Morrow has missed 19 games due to injury or coaches decision. He is currently shelved due to a back injury. He seemed a little slow out of the gate to pick things up offensively but really hasn't been in the rotation long enough to get a good feel for anything.

Grade - D

Zaza Pachulia

Pachulia has played in all 41 games and put up 6.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He is No. 1 on the team in rebounding percentage by a wide margin and is a capable enough defender that the big lineup probably should be used much more. Pachulia hasn't been bitten by the free throw bug and like Ivan Johnson, it's difficult to see what more the Hawks could want from him.

Grade - A

Jannero Pargo

Has played exactly one game and is on a 10-day contract but showed in that game exactly what he is. Pargo can score but there are also negatives to his game. Still he helped lead the Hawks to a much needed win over the Timberwolves in his first game and that is at least worth another mention here.

Grade - Incomplete

Johan Petro

Has played in exactly nine more games than Pargo despite being on the roster since the start of training camp.

Grade - Incomplete

Mike Scott

Scott is a little tough to judge because like Jenkins he hasn't really gotten any sort of consistent minutes. He has played more of late and scored a career-high agains the Timberwolves on Monday. Of late he is starting to look more comfortable so the hope is that he can continue that when he gets opportunities in the second half.

Grade - C

Josh Smith

Its been an up and down season for Smith in what is his contract year. It hit the low point a week ago when he was suspended for one game by the team for a blow up in practice. Still he is leading the team in scoring at 16.3, grabbing 8.2 rebounds per night while also handing out 3.8 assists. He is also averaging 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals a night. He is attempting one less attempt a game than last season but has increased his attempts from three-point range where he is making just 30 percent. His 44 percent shooting from the field is acceptable but his free throw shooting has bottomed out to a career-worst 52 percent.

Still you can't overlook Smith's warrior mentality and the fact that he comes to compete nightly and is often matched up against bigger players particularly on the defensive end. However, like Horford, more was expected from him in his first year as the face of the franchise and his grade reflects that.

Grade - C

DeShawn Stevenson

Stevenson has battled a knee injury the entire season that has kept him out of back-to-backs. Offensively virtually all of his attempts are coming from three-point range where he is making 39 percent. Defensively he has lost a step because of his knees but is another veteran presence that the Hawks could use. Larry Drew will probably have to watch him minutes carefully in the second half. His grade would be higher if he could play more.

Grade - C

Jeff Teague

Teague is averaging a career-high 13.3 points and 6.7 assists while shooting 44 percent from the field. He has also become very reliable at the free throw line where he is connecting at an 87 percent clip. Teague has shown that he is the engine of this team and the Hawks rarely lose when Jeff turns in a solid performance. There have been plenty of issues defensively. Teague often struggles getting over picks and isn't the strong and vocal leader type. Nevertheless, he has continued his upward arc and will need to sustain that in the second half before hitting restricted free agency this offseason.

Teague was mentioned along with both Smith and Horford as the leaders of this team. He falls just short of that in my opinion so he doesn't get the same curve they do with their grade. However, the Hawks need him to take his share of the burden from Horford and Smith.

Grade - B

Anthony Tolliver

Tolliver probably played too much early and not enough of late. He has struggled shooting this season connecting on 34 percent of his field goal attempts and has sunk to 27 percent from three. He has appeared in 27 games but is best suited for spot duty and more as a big body when the Hawks need to match up defensively. He should never be on the court over Ivan Johnson.

Grade - D

Lou Williams

Lou was lost for the season last week to a torn ACL in his right knee. We will probably see in the coming weeks just how valuable he was to the Hawks. He was third on the team in scoring at the time with a 14.1 average while making 42 percent of his shots. He shot 87 percent from the free throw line in the first half but saw his free throw attempts per game drop by 1.5 from his last season in Philly. Williams has split time at the point and shooting guard positions and was one of the few Hawks that could go out and create a shot for himself.

Grade - B

Feel differently about the first half? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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