DeMarre Carroll‘s return to the starting lineup is huge for the Atlanta Hawks. With Al Horford already out for the season with an injury, Atlanta could not afford to have a starter such as Carroll out for an extended period of time. He’s a guy who makes the Hawks way better due to his abilities on both ends of the court.
Offensively, his return gives Atlanta another three-point shooter to go along with the other excellent shooters the Hawks already have on their roster. He’s not like the other three-point shooters on the Hawks’ roster, though. The difference between him and other shooters such as Kyle Korver is that Carroll can either take the ball to hole or provide the Hawks with a slasher; a slasher is a guy who cuts towards the basket without the ball in his hands and usually finds himself open underneath the basket because he catches the defense off-guard with his quickness.
Defensively, Carroll’s return means that the Hawks have their premier defender back on the court. Every game, Carroll gives 100 percent on the defensive end and takes the challenge upon himself to guard some of the best talent in the league. One thing you can never question when Carroll takes the floor is his hustle. He never gives up on any play, whether it’s a loose ball about to go out of bounds or a 50-50 ball between him and another defender, Carroll always hustles to make an impact on the game.
Just look at his numbers since his return from an injury. In his first game back, Carroll had an impressive performance against the Golden State Warriors, scoring 12 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and stealing the ball four times. His play almost led the Hawks to a big win over the Warriors if not for a buzzer beating three-pointer by Andre Iguodala to win the game. Even last night, in a game in which the Hawks struggled offensively, he managed to score 10 points, grab seven rebounds and get three steals against the Chicago Bulls. There’s a reason he has the nickname the “Junkyard Dog,” and for good reason with statistics like that.
Even though Atlanta suffered two defeats since his return, I believe Carroll will be an asset and key contributor to the Hawks’ success going forward. With him in the starting lineup, the Hawks still have a great chance to make the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference despite not having Horford the rest of the way.