This will sound weird, coming as it does the morning after the Atlanta Hawks allowed the Orlando Magic, who ranked next-to-last among NBA teams in scoring, to muster 131 points (72 in the first half), but here goes:
In less than two calendar years, Pace & Space has been shredded. The Hawks still defend well enough, last night notwithstanding. They were seventh in defensive efficiency in 2014-2015 and second last season; they’re tied for fifth now. They’ve actually gotten much better at rebounding. (The Dwight Effect.) But they’ve gotten really bad at the thing that made them really good.
We note that the Hawks are different from two seasons ago. DeMarre Carroll is long gone to Toronto, replaced by Kent Bazemore. Jeff Teague was traded to Indiana to clear a space for Dennis Schroder. Al Horford was allowed to leave for Boston, Dwight Howard taking his spot. At 35, Kyle Korver no longer starts. Some if not all of this was inevitable. Still, the collapse of a once-mighty offense has been stunning.
We also note, not for the first time, that the team of 2014-15 was built by Danny Ferry; he stepped aside as general manager on Sept. 12, 2014, never to return. We note that every personnel decision since has been the work of Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox. We note that the 2014-15 team won 60 games. We note that these Hawks started 9-2 and are below .500.