Seven Days Until the Atlanta Hawks’ Season

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By Robby Kalland

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets

We are counting down the days until the Hawks’ season-opener in Dallas by giving you 50 things to be excited about this year. With seven days left, today’s reason is…

Lou Williams’ Return

Lou Williams came to Atlanta last offseason and was the Hawks’ biggest free agent acquisition. The local kid from South Gwinnett was returning to help his hometown team as they transitioned from one era to the next with the departure of Joe Johnson. He came in and continued on in the sixth man role that he played so well with the Sixers averaging 14.1 points, 3.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game prior to tearing his ACL on Jan. 18 in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Williams had never had a serious injury in his playing career, from high school through his first seven years in the NBA, prior to that night in Brooklyn. He has been rehabilitating in Atlanta and Florida for the past 10 months, and has recently begun playing with contact. Williams said at media day that the mental aspect of the recovery was not something he was concerned with, and that every time the doctors would allow him to take the next step in rehab he wanted to go even faster.

Williams’ return date is still unknown, and there have been no timetables set other than Lou saying he would be back by the All-Star break. When he does return, Williams will bring a needed spark to the Hawks’ bench rotation where his ability to create his own shot, space the floor, and attack the defense in pick-and-roll will be welcomed with open arms. Williams had his best three-point shooting season in his 39 games last year shooting 36.7 percent from beyond the arc with the highest three-point rate in his career (44.2%) by far. That improved outside shooting gave Williams an effective field goal percentage above 50 percent (50.3%) for only the second time in his career.

His free throw rate declined because of the increase in outside field goal attempts, and the Hawks will look to put him in more situations where he can attack the rim as a ball-handler in pick-and-rolls, something he was not able to do much last season. Williams will also get plenty of spot-up attempts from three this season when he is not on the ball as he will be asked to space the floor and shoot a lot of threes in Coach Bud’s offense.

Williams’ return, whenever that may be, will provide a major boost to the Hawks. His offensive impact on the game is undeniably and he will bring the added dimension of being a shot-creator to the offense. Defensively, Williams is active with his hands and, paired with Jeff Teague or Dennis Schröder in the backcourt, will provide a lot of pressure on opposing ball-handlers. The return of LouWill to the court is definitely one of the reasons we are excited for the upcoming season.

We also want your input. What are you most excited about this upcoming season.  Leave a comment below to let us know, and we may feature your idea in our countdown!

Day 50 – New Faces
Day 49 – First Pelicans Visit
Day 48 – Hawks Social Media
Day 47 – Dennis Schröder
Day 46 – Celebrities at Philips Arena
Day 45 – All-Star Game
Day 44 – Hawks Footwear
Day 43 – Sky Hawk and the Sky Squad
Day 42 – Bakersfield Jam
Day 41 – John Jenkins & Mike Scott
Day 40 – SkyView Atlanta
Day 39 – Drew and Pachulia’s Return
Day 38 – Junior Cheerleaders
Day 37 – Production Day
Day 36 – Hawks Intro Video
Day 35 – Overtime Games
Day 34 – Fan Experiences
Day 33 – Learning Foreign Languages
Day 32 – Gustavo Ayón
Day 31 – Open Practice
Day 30 – Live Streaming/
Day 29 – Ryan Cameron
Day 28 – Bob Rathbun & Dominique Wilkins
Day 27 – Paul Millsap
Day 26 – Hawks Shop
Day 25 – Players On Twitter
Day 24 – Kiss Cam
Day 23 – Hawks 6th Man
Day 22 – Harry The Hawk
Day 21 – Junior Cheerleaders
Day 20 – Hawks In Transition
Day 19 – Crazy Half-Court Shots at Halftime
Day 18 – DeMarre Carroll
Day 17 – Hawks Cheerleaders
Day 16 – Dunks
Day 15 – Al Horford’s Mid-Range Game
Day 14 – Friday Night Lights
Day 13 – MLK Day
Day 12 – Steve Holman and 92.9 The Game
Day 11 – Buzzer Beaters
Day 10 – Hawks Membership
Day 9 – Coach Bud Returns To San Antonio
Day 8 – Pick & Roll

Photo by Al Bello/NBAE/Getty Images

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