The Atlanta Hawks are currently above .500 at 23-22 and will take on a tough Western team in the Denver Nuggets on the road. What’s the best pick for this game?
Atlanta Hawks vs. Denver Nuggets
Sunday, March 28th, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Ball Arena
The Nuggets traded for Aaron Gordon in a blockbuster deal before the NBA Trade Deadline, and he is set to make his debut for the team in this game. It’s not official that he’s playing, but it’s highly likely that he ends up playing.
The Nuggets already have the fourth-highest points per 100 possessions in the NBA at 118.3 and have an effective field goal percentage of 56.6 percent. This is an offense that has been terrific other than getting to the line, which is 30th in the league at 16.5 when it comes to free throw rate.
The Nuggets are fourth in the league in offensive rebounding percentage and sixth in the NBA in turnover percentage. Adding Aaron Gordon will only help these offensive numbers more with him aligned next to Nikola Jokic.
Jokic is averaging a near triple-double as the big man for this team. He’s scoring 27.2 points, bringing down 11.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game in 35.8 minutes. Only Jokic and Murray play above 35 minutes per game. Murray scores 21.1 points per game and also averages five assists per game.
The most underrated player on this team is Michael Porter Jr. who is averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Porter is lethal from distance and should get more open looks with Gordon in the mix.
The Nuggets have dominated offensively, but the defense has been a problem. The Nuggets are allowing 113.5 points per 100 possessions and a 55.1 percent effective field goal percentage. Both of these numbers are in the bottom ten of the league. Denver won’t get a high amount of turnovers and could struggle to keep the Hawks off the offensive glass, just like the Hawks will struggle to keep the Nuggets off the offensive glass.
The Hawks are able to dominate the glass on offense, but they also are the top team when it comes to drawing fouls and getting to the line. The Hawks are scoring 114.7 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 53.4 percent. This is a team that prides itself on getting to the line and also getting second-chance opportunities.
The Clippers acquired Rajon Rondo from the Hawks in exchange for Lou Williams before the trade deadline. Williams was upset with this trade but will ultimately play for the Hawks after all. It’s unclear what his role will be in this game, or if he even plays, but he adds buckets to a team that sometimes struggles to get good looks.
The Hawks are led by Trae Young, who averages 25.7 points per game. Meanwhile, Clint Capela has averaged 14.7 points and 14.3 rebounds per game and is having himself a solid season. There were also talks about John Collins being moved at the trade deadline as he averages 18.6 points and 7.9 rebounds, but the Hawks elected to keep the power forward for the rest of the season.
Defensively, the Hawks are allowing 112.8 points per 100 possessions but have limited effective field goal percentages for opponents to 52.6 percent. They won’t force a high amount of turnovers and will struggle to rebound on the defensive end, especially against the Nuggets. The Hawks foul plenty, but the Nuggets also aren’t as aggressive getting to the line. Still, the Nuggets should get more opportunity at the line against a fast-paced and foul-friendly Hawks team.
With both teams making deals at the deadline, I like the offense to take over as defense becomes a bit harder until the chemistry is worked out. Both teams should do a solid job on the offensive glass, and these teams both added offensive studs to their roster. Gordon will play and while Williams is questionable, the offenses should get plenty of chances to score points in this one.
CBB Pick: Over 222 (-110) at William Hill