Did you realize that DeShawn was brought to Atlanta in a Sign and Trade deal? He signed a 3 year deal for 2.24M per season in order to make the math work in the Joe Johnson trade. It had to be at least 3 years to be in a sign and trade. Just 2 years before this he was a key cog in Dallas winning the championship. A year before he was an ill-fit for a New Jersey Nets team that fell to pieces and experienced one of the worst seasons of his career. Our expectations were more aptly hoping (not expecting) that he could still provide parameter defense and hit an occasional 3 pointer.
If you’ve read any stories about DeShawn you probably think of him as a wild card (or at least wild), but on the court it seemed like both DeShawn and Larry Drew knew what he could still do and what his knees couldn’t. DeShawn was given half of back-to-back games off based on whichever came Drew felt he needed his defense the most. This reduced DeShawn to appearing in only 56 games, but he starting 31 of those (mostly earlier in the season) and averaged his most minutes per game since he was a starter in Washington 5 years ago. When he was able to go we got the best DeShawn left. His defense win shares was almost the same as in Dallas during the championship year. Offensively he bounced back to shoot .364 from 3 point range from his .283 in New Jersey. His overall shooting was only .374 but since over 80% of his shots came from deep he had a very reasonable eFG% of 0.519, 7th best on the Hawks.
I’m going with the February 22nd game against Sacramento at Philips Arena. Every time the Hawks needed a big basket it seemed like DeShawn was wide open and he didn’t disappoint. He was 2-2 from the line and hit his first 4 3 pointers making the 4th one late in the 3rd quarter to put the Hawks ahead 81-80. The next trip down he missed his first shot of the night (also a 3 point attempt) and was taken out. He came back in the 4th quarter and hit 1 more 3 pointer to push the lead to double digits with Atlanta never looking back. DeShawn only missed the one shot on his way to scoring 17 points.
Remember when I said DeShawn signed for 3 years? Well only the first year was guaranteed. It’s a no brainer that DeShawn get released because at this point he doesn’t have much left in those knees and Danny Ferry has plans for that cap space. He’s 32 now and has completed 13 seasons in the NBA, which mean he's probably at the league minimum level. While I enjoyed watching DeShawn ball as a Hawk, both sides knew how this was going to end when he signed the deal last year. While his experience is valuable I doubt he’ll come back at the minimum.