As the 2013 NBA season kicks off this week, the Atlanta Hawks look quite a bit different. Starting with their front court, the Hawks let go of forward Josh Smith into free agency but brought in Paul Millsap to replace him. In what could wind up being a nice swap, Millsap should provide a bit more consistency at the position.
Paired up with Al Horford, Millsap looks to take this front court to new heights. But, one of their most important players and best acquisitions this offseason was that of backup power forward Elton Brand who came over after having played the 2012 season for the Dallas Mavericks.
In 2012, Brand averaged 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while playing 21.2 minutes a night. This type of stat line should be improved just a little bit as I could see him playing a little more in Atlanta than he did last season. Coming off the bench to spell Millsap, Brand will give this front court a fantastic veteran presence and, yes, production even at age 34.
Brand will be a key player for Atlanta, especially if both Millsap and Horford are resting while he’s on the court. His smarts and savviness as a veteran who’s been in the game for a long time will carry him a ways this season. The Hawks could still be a playoff team this season, but the damage will have to be done in the paint for that to happen.
Brand wil be a big part of the paint production in Atlanta this year and should be a very solid contributor for the Hawks. He was a guy that even some contenders were looking at signing and very well could have, but Brand chose Atlanta in the end over teams that had a better shot to win the title. That should say something.