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Breaking down Atlanta’s early season ATO plays

Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images

It is a new season with a new and improved roster for the Atlanta Hawks. Not only has the team reworked their broader offensive scheme in some ways, head coach Lloyd Pierce and the staff have also executed something of a refresh on their after timeout (ATO) plays.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Hawks are attacking defenses in these situations when it is sometimes easier to work in wrinkles and other variations to the actions the team normally puts to use on offense.

In the video below, we will dig into a few broader topics, including the following:

  • The use of double drag screens to initiate sets
  • The use of Atlanta’s “pistol” series to isolate favorable matchups to one side of the floor
  • The use of split-cuts to generate pressure on the opposing defense away from the ball
  • Much more


Most of what the Hawks do, at least in the situations highlighted here, seems to be built around the objective of generating a specific shot or creating a favorable matchup.

Hopefully, this breakdown has provided a baseline idea of the common actions that we can identify as Atlanta continues to navigate the 2020-21 season.