The Atlanta Hawks acquired Swiss free agent Thabo Sefolosha during the offseason for three years, $12 million. Coach Mike Budenholzer added Sefolosha mainly because of his defensive presence, for the Hawks want to solidify their depth chart against opposing offenses. He was targeted to split backup time behind Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll, but Atlanta would be wise to start him.
Sefolosha recently pulled out of competition with the Switzerland National basketball team to focus on the Hawks. He is rededicating himself to basketball and training hard in preparation for training camp and the upcoming season. Sefolosha has consistently shot over .340 from behind the arc in his eight years of NBA experience. He fits well into the Budenholzer system of splashers to spread the court and open up lanes while also being able to defend on the other end of the court.
Carroll had a solid season for the Hawks in 2013-14 in which he started 73 games, but this was the first real season of success for him. He has never had the playing time before like he did this past season, so maybe Carroll can maintain that level of play; but you know exactly what you’re going to get with Sefolosha.
The Swiss-man has a lot more experience and has played alongside some of the league’s best players while he was on the Oklahoma City Thunder such as reigning MVP Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He has been a part of teams that have made it to the NBA Finals and has seen just about every style and aspect of play. He will be utilized more effectively on a team that is not full of superstars, so he could have the opportunity to have the greatest season of his career.
Due to his consistency, defensive prowess and experience, I would give Sefolosha the start over Carroll to begin the season. His vast array of knowledge will benefit the Atlanta core tremendously. Training camp will certainly be interesting to see who takes this starting spot for the Hawks.