Kyle Korver Proving to Be More Than Specialist for Atlanta Hawks
When you think of 10-year veteran wing Kyle Korver, the first thing you obviously think about is his three-point shooting abilities. After all, Korver is now the NBA record-holder for most consecutive regular season games with a made three-point attempt and is also shooting 42.3 percent from long-distance for his career.
For the Atlanta Hawks this season, Korver’s second season with the team, the veteran has been shooting the rock on a torrid pace and having one of his best offensive seasons of his career. Through the 22 games that he’s played this season, Korver is averaging 13 points and a career-high 2.6 assists per game while shooting a career-high 52 percent from the floor and a career-high 51.2 percent from three.
Obviously those are ridiculous percentages for a wing that takes over half of his shot attempts from long-range. There is a strong chance that Korver’s numbers will decline a bit as the year goes on, but considering that he shot 45.7 percent from three last season, the drop off might not be as severe as you might imagine. Even with that possible drop-off, though, it won’t change the value of Korver in this Hawks offense.
When Mike Budenholzer arrived as the new head coach of the Hawks, he stressed the fact that he wanted to bring a little bit of influence from his time under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs to the Hawks. Namely, Budenholzer wanted this team to be deadly with their three-point shooting.
While threes are a weapon in their own right, one of the things that has always been evident with San Antonio is how the long-ball opens up the floor and creates spacing for big men and driving guards. Subsequently, having an elite shooter like Korver in this Hawks offense demands so much defensive attention that, unless you want to give him his shot, Atlanta now has room for guys like Jeff Teague and Al Horford to operate more effectively.
The Hawks’ offense overall has been middle of the road this season overall, averaging 103.7 points per 100 possessions. However, it’s no mistake that this team is 2.4 points per 100 possessions better with Korver on the floor. Yes, he’s going to fill it up from beyond-the-arc, but you’d be a fool to think that is all that he does for this Hawks offense.