Boston Celtics: Week in Review
The first Woj Bomb of the NBA season is upon us, and considering the abundance of news surrounding Paul Millsap and his future with the Atlanta Hawks, the agreement from the Hawks in sending Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the Cavs’ first round pick and Mike Dunleavy Jr. signals that the 20-16 Hawks are ready to hit the reset button.
Sources: Cleveland, Atlanta targeting Saturday for trade call on Korver deal now. Hawks haven't found 3rd team deal to move on Dunleavy yet.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 6, 2017
It also indicates – if the offseason veteran signings weren’t enough to do so – that an arms race of sorts is taking place between the Cavs and the Golden State Warriors.
Outside of a wonky season in Philadelphia at the age of 25 (the year Allen Iverson was traded), Korver has never been the vocal point of an NBA offense. For as highly regarded as Korver has become during his renaissance years down in Atlanta, the Chicago Bulls – believing that his best days were behind him – traded him to Atlanta for a trade exception and cash considerations.
Korver’s Basketball Reference page doesn’t begin to express how – similar to J.J. Redick today, and how Ray Allen and Reggie Miller had second lives as shooters running around multitudes of screens – the now 35 year old Korver makes defenses bend to his activity.
Mike Budenholzer, a Spurs whisperer and Hawks coach since 2013-14, predicated his offense on ball movement, lateral movement, and quick decision making.
Missing Horford for the large majority of the 2013-14 season, the Hawks struggled to make the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, yet found successful footing the following two seasons, blending an aggressive defense with an offense that stretched defenses out to the perimeter, and essentially made opponents uncomfortable.
Korver – who made his lone all-star appearance during Atlanta’s 60-win campaign two seasons ago – shot an unreal 45% from deep during his four-plus seasons as a Hawk.
Now he gets to play alongside LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, most likely in the J.R. Smith role (the long-range shooter is out, possibly the rest of the regular season, after having surgery on his right thumb).
Although Korver’s career three-point percentage goes down from 43% to 39% in the playoffs, percentages tend to trend down when you go up against well-prepared defenses. Playing with Irving, James, and Love changes that.
The physical decline has been slow for Korver – whose offseason workouts were chrnociled by Zach Lowe in 2014 – as he had rarely been absent from the Hawks’ lineup during his time there.
The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors just saw the Eastern Conference mountain got much more difficult.
Out West for Golden State, the ball’s in their court.