Final Regular-Season Grades for Every Atlanta Hawks Player

James Davis@@JDouglasDavisAnalyst IApril 17, 2014

Final Regular-Season Grades for Every Atlanta Hawks Player

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    Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic and guard Kyle Korver celebrate with guard Jeff Teague.
    Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic and guard Kyle Korver celebrate with guard Jeff Teague.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    The Atlanta Hawks will post their first losing record since the 2006-07 season, but they are still a playoff club thanks to an anemic Eastern Conference.

    Since the All-Star break, this team went from fourth to eighth place and was briefly out of postseason contention when the New York Knicks momentarily seized the No. 8 seed in early April.

    Still, for a squad that has lost three guys to season-ending injuries, including All-Star Al Horford, the Hawks have done alright considering the circumstances.

    There have been some surprises and disappointments from individual players over the course of this campaign, and now it is time to render a final assessment for each one.

    Presented in alphabetical order, here’s how each Hawk fared for 2013-14.

Pero Antic

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    Pero Antic boxes out for a rebound.
    Pero Antic boxes out for a rebound.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Injuries have led to Pero Antic getting more time than previously expected. The new guy was supposed to watch and learn from veterans Al Horford and Elton Brand until the former suffered a pectoral tear that sidelined him for the season.

    The 31-year-old rookie has been serviceable in his role of stretching defenses with his outside touch. He chipped in seven points per game and proved efficient from the charity stripe.

    Antic has been a bit underwhelming on the boards. His size would imply that he should be pulling in more than the 4.2 rebounds per game that he’s averaged, but he did increase his output 5.8 per game in the last month of the season.

    Given that he was a rookie thrust into an unexpected role, the Macedonian has responded as well as anyone could have expected.

    Even with a healthy front line next season, Antic may have earned a higher place on the depth chart.

    Final Grade: C+

Gustavo Ayon

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    Gustavo Ayon defends against driving Miami Heat guard Ray Allen.
    Gustavo Ayon defends against driving Miami Heat guard Ray Allen.Issac Baldizon/Getty Images
    O REB
    D REB

    Gustavo Ayon’s 2013-14 body of work is not very expansive considering that he played in only 26 games before having season-ending shoulder surgery back in February.

    In the games where he did suit up, the former San Jose State Spartan was a great asset who allowed head coach Mike Budenholzer to have options with his big-man rotation.

    Ayon’s numbers were reserved but decent considering the playing time he was given; still, his sampling is too small to give an overall grade.

    Final Grade: Incomplete

Elton Brand

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    Atlanta Hawks forward Elton Brand
    Atlanta Hawks forward Elton BrandRocky Widner/Getty Images

    Elton Brand has gone from All-Star to role player, and he’s embraced that transition with the utmost class.

    Of course the Hawks were not expecting him to be the double-double machine that he once was, or even a lesser version of it. His value was to be derived from the wisdom and stability he could provide to the younger players.

    Even with a diminished role, Brand was very efficient. His field-goal percentage and rebounds-per-game average were a model of maximum production with limited time.

    Due to the injuries that the team suffered, the former Blue Devil was also able to pick up some slack and play major minutes on occasion.

    Brand has been the model team player. His unselfish attitude and team-first outlook benefited this club in ways that a box score could never capture.

    Final Grade: B

DeMarre Carroll

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    DeMarre Carroll fends off New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans for a loose ball.
    DeMarre Carroll fends off New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans for a loose ball.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    The Hawks certainly are grateful that DeMarre Carroll chose this season to have a breakout year.

    His minutes have been pretty standard when compared to his prior two campaigns, but his numbers are up across the board. He has doubled his output in points, rebounds and assists when compared to 2012-13.

    Carroll’s production has been most surprising in that he has become one of the team’s better two-way players.

    The former Missouri Tiger’s scoring has certainly been appreciated, but his perimeter defense was probably held in higher esteem since that meant Budenholzer had a solution for some of the league’s more talented wings.

    Carroll is definitely setting himself up for a payday next summer. His energy, defensive prowess and budding offensive talent are bound to attract some suitors.

    The Hawks would be wise to make a sincere effort to extend his services.

    Final Grade: A

Al Horford

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    Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford
    Atlanta Hawks center Al HorfordMike Lawrie/Getty Images

    Had Al Horford been able to compete the entirety of this season, he would have surely been among the elite bigs.

    Up until his pectoral injury back in December 2013, the former Florida Gator’s numbers showed him to be dominant on both sides of ball.

    With him still in the lineup, it’s logical to think that this team would be in better standing than it is now.

    While the Hawks have certainly persevered without their two-time All-Star, there is a big question mark looming as it pertains to how well they can perform in the postseason.

    Horford himself has gone on record ruling out a playoff return; he says this injury is more severe, thus requiring more time to recover.

    Although his stat line was impressive, his bowing out due to injury leaves his grade indeterminable.

    Final Grade: Incomplete

John Jenkins

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    John Jenkins (right) slaps hands with teammate Louis Williams.
    John Jenkins (right) slaps hands with teammate Louis Williams.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    There is not much that can be said about John Jenkins’ season.

    The second-year guard was another Hawks player whose run ended prematurely due to an injury. He underwent back surgery in February even though he had been sitting out since December of 2013.

    While with the Hawks, his playing time was limited, and his production was minimal. He even did a short stint in the NBA D-League.

    Jenkins showed a little promise during his rookie campaign, but his sophomore sampling did little to shed light on just how high his ceiling could be.

    The former Vanderbilt Commodore will have to take the loss that was this season and use 2014-15 as a comeback year.

    Final Grade: Incomplete

Kyle Korver

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    Hawks guard Kyle Korver shoots over Cleveland Caveliers forward Luol Deng.
    Hawks guard Kyle Korver shoots over Cleveland Caveliers forward Luol Deng.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Kyle Korver has done a great job with being the shooting specialist the Hawks have needed.

    His percentages are all near his career highs, and he’s been one of the more consistent sources of offense all season.

    One might think that his scoring average is a little low for someone who has been so accurate from the field, but the former Creighton Bluejay operates within the confines of the offensive flow.

    Korver’s job has not been that of an attacker looking to get points but rather that of someone who can occupy a defender to make it easier for the team’s one-on-one players to do their job.

    Whether someone is facing a double-team in the post or looking to kick out after driving the lane, the dead-eye small forward has been there to make the defense pay for gambling by leaving him open.

    In fact, a big reason why Korver’s numbers aren’t better is because opposing players rarely give him many open looks.

    Back spasms have affected his game as of late. His rhythm has been off the last few weeks after missing a stretch of games back in late March.

    Overall, Korver has had a pretty solid season and should continue to flourish with this team.

    Final Grade: B

Shelvin Mack

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    Shelvin Mack drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight.
    Shelvin Mack drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Expectations for Shelvin Mack probably weren’t very high when the season started.

    The Hawks were his third team since being drafted back in 2011, and his 2012-13 run was mired with inconsistency in large part due to him being bounced from the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers before landing in Atlanta.

    Mack worked himself into the reserve point guard role under Coach Budenholzer and has produced nicely.

    His numbers are humble on the surface, but when framed within the context that he produces 15 points in 20 minutes of play by either scoring or setting up a teammate, the stats are pretty solid.

    It will be interesting to see how Atlanta handles him in the offseason.

    Mack has earned and occupied a role that he was not expected to play, but it remains to be seen if that will sway the Hawks management to re-sign him.

    If not, he has certainly shown that he refuses to wash out and is bound to continue prospering elsewhere.

    Final Grade: B

Cartier Martin

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    Cartier Martin makes a move against Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
    Cartier Martin makes a move against Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-GilchristScott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Cartier Martin played two stints with the Hawks this season with his second turn earning him a permanent roster spot.

    The wing man plays limited minutes in the restricted capacity of helping defend the perimeter and hitting the open three-point look. He has filled both of those roles adequately, though not exceptionally.

    Martin’s permanent addition to the team was probably an insurance move to protect against injury should the Hawks find themselves competing beyond the regular season.

    Now that the playoff teams have been determined, his presence will allow Budenholzer to steal some rest for his main guys while still being able to get some kind of positive contribution.

    Martin didn’t really stand out, but he wasn’t detrimental either. He did as much as anyone could have wanted given his limited skill set.

    Final Grade: C-

Paul Millsap

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    Paul Millsap shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers center Spencer Hawes.
    Paul Millsap shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers center Spencer Hawes.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Referring to Paul Millsap as anything other than the saving grace of the Hawks’ season would be shortchanging his contributions.

    He leads this squad in points, rebounds and steals per game; his contributions in assists are fourth-best on the team.

    Millsap made his first All-Star appearance this year as well, solidifying the magnitude of his play.

    It was expected that this team would slip in the playoff standings without Horford; the Hawks' hopes would have been nonexistent if Millsap wasn’t there to pick up the slack.

    The Monroe, Louisiana native has been a solid post player with the ability to face up and play with his back to the basket. He’s even added a three-point shot to his repertoire.

    On defense, he rebounds, blocks shots and forces turnovers.

    Very few teams have a do-all star, but Millsap is definitely one of the few.

    It’s hard to imagine what kind of position the Hawks would be in without him, but it probably wouldn’t be a desirable one.

    Final Grade: A+

Mike Muscala

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    Mike Muscala skies for a rebound against the Golden State Warriors.
    Mike Muscala skies for a rebound against the Golden State Warriors.Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Mike Muscala was a second-round draft pick who was playing in Spain before being added to the Hawks roster back in February.

    His acquisition, like that of a few others on this team, was due to the injuries suffered by key players.

    Presently, Muscala plays a miniscule number of minutes and serves to only give the more prominent frontcourt athletes quick breathers.

    When he is on the court, the Buckner alum does a decent job of rebounding and challenging shots.

    He may not have done much this past season, but considering that his services come cheaper than Ayon’s, Muscala may prove to be a useful reserve in the future.

    Final Grade: C-

Dennis Schroder

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    Hawks guard Dennis Schroder
    Hawks guard Dennis SchroderRocky Widner/Getty Images

    Per, Dennis Schroder was a foreign player whose skill set was fairly comparable to the other top point guards of his draft class.

    He was touted as a ball-handling wizard who was very effective in the pick-and-roll. While his shooting left a lot to be desired, it was certain that the Hawks made a solid pick.

    Then the season started; Schroder stumbled right out of the gate and never seemed to recover.

    The former German standout has not shot well, has not passed well and turns the ball over for nearly every assist he dishes.

    There have been fleeting moments where Schroder looked like the guard many were hoping him to be, but those occurrences were far and few between.

    While this could easily be chalked up to rookie growing pains, his season was just disappointing considering the expectations.

    Though he is under contract, Schroder has a steep uphill climb if he aims to become an integral part of the rotation again.

    Final Grade: D

Mike Scott

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    Hawks forward Mike Scott (middle) slaps hands with Louis Williams and Cartier Martin.
    Hawks forward Mike Scott (middle) slaps hands with Louis Williams and Cartier Martin.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Mike Scott has been a pleasant offensive surprise this year.

    With playing time that has doubled from last season, the sophomore forward has also poured in twice as many points per game.

    The most notable addition has been a three-point shot. It is not an automatic bucket whenever attempted, but it falls with enough frequency to force an opposing team’s forward out of the paint and on the wing to cover.

    Defense is Scott’s albatross. For everything he can do with the ball, he cancels it out when playing at the other end of the floor.

    The former Virginia Cavalier is easily overpowered by more traditional power forwards and is a subpar rebounder.

    If he were able to perform just a little better at the defensive end, he could be one of the better reserve bigs in the league.

    Final Grade: C

Jeff Teague

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    Jeff Teague attempts a pull-up jumper.
    Jeff Teague attempts a pull-up jumper.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Jeff Teague had an up-and-down season but really turned it up in the closing month.

    Dating back to March 13, he scored double digits in all but one game and registered five or more assists in all but six contests.

    Over that same stretch, his scoring average was 18.1 points per game while shooting a much improved 48.3 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from beyond the arc.

    This was the player everyone was looking for when the season commenced, but getting into form going into the postseason will surely be an acceptable consolation.

    It’s hard to pin down the exact cause of the erratic outings. Some contributing factors may have been trying too hard to play up to his new extension or not having the proper motivation, since there was no reserve nipping at his heels.

    Teague’s play was most likely a response to the unfortunate circumstances that befell his team all year long.

    He has been without some very key players and needed to adjust to a number of new faces.

    Final Grade: B

Louis Williams

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    Louis Williams gets out on a fast break against the Chicago Bulls.
    Louis Williams gets out on a fast break against the Chicago Bulls.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Louis Williams definitely had an off year.

    While he’s averaged more than 10 points since 2007, the 10.4 points he contributed this season were his lowest output over that stretch.

    Considering that his role was to be instant offense for the second unit, this outing has been unacceptable. Defense is something the South Gwinnett native just doesn’t do, so he has to be good for something.

    It should be noted that Williams did suffer a torn ACL during the 2012-13 campaign.

    Trusting his body to perform at a high level may have been a big reason as to why he might not have been the player fans were used to seeing in past seasons.

    Overall, this stretch should be a mulligan for Lou-Will. Despite the hardships, he still managed to be one of the team’s top scorers.

    With a year of post-injury play under his belt, things should go back to normal next time around.

    Final Grade: C

    All statistics current as of 4-17-14 and courtesy of unless otherwise specified (season totals and last month of games).