January hasn't been as kind to the Atlanta Hawks as December, but if you were expecting the team to match December's success without Al Horford than January was a disappointing month. To those with fairly-adjusted expectations, the Hawks came out of January with a lot of positives.
What went right:
- Paul Millsap made the cut for 2014 NBA All-Star game, so that's pretty awesome.It's obviously well deserved with Millsap's all-star level PER of 20.3, a TS% of 50 percent, and his impact on the defensive end.
- Pero Antic got selected to play in the Rising Stars Challenge. Antic is currently sidelined with injury, so it's still unknown whether or not he'll be participating in the game. With Horford out, Antic has had taken a much larger role in the offense and has made the most of it. The Macedonian Matt Bonner is shooting 43 percent from 3-point land in January along with a 63 percent TS% and 111 ORtg.
- Kyle Korver will reportedly compete in the 3-point contest. Apparently, hitting at least one 3-pointer in 113 straight games is ideal when trying to fill out a 3-point contest field.
- Antic isn't the only Hawk who had a good January -- enter DeMarre Carroll. Carroll shot 41 percent from 3-point land, had a TS% of 64 percent, averaged close to six boards a night, and remained steady on the defensive side of the floor.
- Even without Horford, the team was able to beat the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets this month.
What went wrong
- When you play below .500 basketball things couldn't have gone that well as a team. Horford's absence has impacted the Hawks offensively much more than it has defensively. In January, the Hawks' assist rate fell three percent, they took four percent less 3's, and most importantly averaged just 99 ppg. In December, the team was averaging 109 ppg.
- Jeff Teague is really missing his pick-and-roll partner -- that much is obvious. Teague dished 116 assists in December, 137 in November, but in January that number fell to just 43. Teague's getting to line less and shooting poorly. Teague's FG% is 38 percent, along with 16 percent (barfs) from 3-point land. His ORtg is just 88, while his DRtg is 112. His January struggles could be contributed to a number of factors, but for the Hawks to have a successful February he has to get back on track -- and healthy.
- Lou Williams hasn't played poorly, but he hasn't taken that next step yet either. Lou shot a worse percentage from the floor in January, still isn't attack the basket as much as he should, and is still a liability defensively. He's shot well from beyond the arc, but the Hawks need more -- especially with Horford out and Teague hobbled.
- Not to rain on Millsap's much-deserved all-star selection, but the forward did struggle in January in a couple of areas. His rebounding rate fell and his early season 3-point success has evaporated -- Millsap is shooting just 22 percent from 3-point land this month.
What to expect next month
You could make the case January was the most difficult month on the Hawks schedule, so going 5-7 without Horford isn't the end of the world. The team had a lot of good wins -- and some really bad losses. The Hawks long West Coast roadtrip doesn't begin until March, so that's a plus. But with Antic out and Teague not 100 percent it's difficult to really pinpoint how the Hawks should fare in February. If Teague gets back on track and Millsap's 3-pointers start falling again the Hawks should have an above .500 mark next month.