1. Developing youth helping Atlanta of late
The Atlanta Hawks are 6-5 over their last 11 games, doubling their win total on the season after starting 6-23, and it’s solid play from some of their young players that are helping the rebuilding club take a step forward.
Second-year big John Collins has averaged a double-double over their last 11 games, playing in 10 and putting up 18.2 points and 12.1 boards per game while shooting 56.8 percent overall and canning a sizzling 48 percent from 3-point range.
Rookie Trae Young is shooting less from deep and making more. Over his last 11 games, he’s shot 44.4 percent overall and 50 percent from long range — improving his numbers in those categories on the season to 39.4 percent and 29.1 percent, respectively.
Former Brooklyn Net Jeremy Lin made his first start of the season Tuesday night in the Hawks’ loss to the Toronto Raptors and scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting in a season-high 35 minutes while adding nine assists.
Lin has averaged 11,4 points and a 4.6 assists over his last 11 games in just 21.1 minutes a night while shooting 50 percent overall.
Atlanta has made some steps forward defensively over this recent stretch, with a defensive rating of 108.1 over their last 11 games, compared to their season mark of 110.6. Their offensive rating, meanwhile, has spiked to 106.6, improving their overall rating this season to 103.2.
The biggest chance of late has been on the offensive glass, where no team in the NBA has been better over their last 11 games. Atlanta has gotten a whopping 34.6 percent of available offensive rebounds over that stretch and are at 27.7 percent on the season, 14th in the league.
Since giving up 144 points in a 17-loss to the Nets on Dec. 16, the Hawks have a road wins at Minnesota and Detroit and a blowout at home of Miami, with three of their five losses coming on the road to Eastern Conference playoff-caliber teams in Indiana, Milwaukee and Toronto.
They’ve allowed 111.7 points per game over the last 11, compared to 117.2 points allowed a night overall.
The Hawks aren’t an elite squad, by any stretch, but they are playing much better than they were 3½ weeks ago when the Nets ran them out of Barclays Center.