Hawks Season In Review: Elton Brand
Note: We use stats per 36 minutes instead of stats per game on the graphics. The reason behind that is stats per 36 tell a more complete story of how a player did while he was on the court, as opposed to per game stats which averages a player’s stats based on the number of games that player appeared in, regardless of how many minutes he played. The per 36 minutes compares all players equally by taking the minutes played out of the equation to measure the most effective players during their time on the court.
The Hawks brought Elton Brand in this season hoping he would provide a veteran presence in the locker room and a scoring option/defensive presence off the bench when needed, and Brand gave them that and more this season, posting 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game on 53.9 percent shooting from the field.
Brand’s role with the Hawks changed dramatically throughout the season, going from DNP’s early in the year to being a starter when the Hawks’ frontcourt was decimated by injuries. Through it all, Brand was a consummate professional on and off the court, and when they needed him to play a big role he delivered.
In the month of February, in the Hawks’ 12 games, Brand averaged 8.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game in 28.1 minutes — including back-to-back 40+ minute performances late in the month. Brand stepped up into a larger role and exceeded expectations, providing an offensive spark thanks to his sweet touch from the mid-range and he was the Hawks best rim protector, turning away the opposition thanks to his great timing and length. He led the Hawks in blocks on the season with 88 and his 1.2 per game was second to Al Horford.
Brand was a terrific fit for Coach Bud’s offense, as he set terrific screens and was extremely reliable in the mid-range, shooting 49.6 percent on 135 mid-range attempts.
Brand was rarely one of the first options on offense, and received very few post-up touches — 36 touches on the season in the post — but made the most of his opportunities in the pick-and-roll/pop game. 28 percent of Brand’s offensive touches this season — touches that resulted in a shot, foul, or turnover — were as the roll-man, and another 12.8 percent came on spot-ups. He shot exactly 50 percent in those two situations — 80-of-160 — which was crucial in providing spacing for the Hawks’ second unit. The rest of his touches came mostly on off-ball cuts — 26.7 percent — where he was effective, often cutting off the weakside baseline, shooting 52.6 percent.
Elton certainly proved this year that he still has plenty to offer on and off the court, even after 15 seasons. He is still unsure of his future, saying at exit interviews that he would have to discuss his options with his family before he makes a decision whether to retire or come back to the NBA for another season.