After a solid regular season, Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll has taken his game to another level during the postseason. Carroll led Atlanta with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists in Tuesday's Game 2 win over the Wizards. It was Carroll's sixth straight game with at least 20 points. He became the first Atlanta Hawks player to turn that feat since Dominique Wilkins.
Carroll has been a key contributor for Atlanta throughout the regular season, but he's seen his value rise during the playoffs.
"He just gets it within the context of how we play in our offense, and his teammates are creating a lot of opportunities for him. He's taking advantage of them," said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer following Game 2. "He's driving and attacking more."
Carroll shot a career-best 48.7 percent during the regular season. His three-point percentage rose from 36.2 percent last season to 39.5 percent this season. So far during the playoffs, he is averaging 18.9 points while shooting 55.6 percent from the field. His three-point percentage is up to 46.5 percent.
Carroll's shot chart illustrates his success well:
As the chart shows, it is all about the paint or the three-point line for Carroll. That is a staple of Atlanta's offense for everyone not named Al Horford. The most impressive part of Carroll's offensive success is that he is also the team's No. 1 wing defender. He has guarded everyone from Joe Johnson and Deron Williams to Paul Pierce, Bradley Beal and John Wall in the playoffs. That is often a heavy burden to bear for a player, but Carroll is thriving.
The timing couldn't be any more perfect either for Carroll who will enter free agency this summer. As his stock has risen, he will enter a market that could be flush with cash with a significant cap increase on the horizon. Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler will both also be on the market, but both are restricted free agents. Carroll would be a solid fall-back option for a team that missed out on either Leonard or Butler.
He will also be a high priority for the Hawks who could have an edge given the team's success, their willingness to give him a chance and his fit in their system. There is still work to be done this season, but for Carroll it is all coming together.