Season Previews: Atlanta Hawks

Season Previews

Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks

Danny Ferry has completely trashed the Hawks roster- only one player remains that was under contract when he took over, and that would the best player, Al Horford. Jeff Teague resigned to make it two, and that was after not getting nearly the money he was after, and thank goodness that Brandon Jennings never came up.
I think Ferry has done one heckuva job with the Plan B of the offseason, after Howard ignored the hometown pull.
The Hawks are lead by the Spurs number 1 guy Mike Budenholzer. Coach Bud should have been  met at the airport by Al Horford, as if there is anything he can do to make Al Duncan 2.0, Bud should be the man.

CenterAl Horford

Al is coming off his best year going 17/10, and could be scary good if Bud is able to do anything close to what Popovich did in San Antonio. I love the hire, and Paul Millsap is going to have an interesting year. He goes from  small market, where there is a RABID fanbase, to a large market, where not many people care about you at all.
Behind him is Elton Brand, a former #1 overall pick that is coming to the end, but has a lot of experience, and in small minutes could be great, or even could go HUGE with a Brand/Horford/Millsap front court. What the Hawks have given Coach Bud is some serious rebounders, who can score at times. None are going to go off for 40 on a given night, but 3 guys giving you 18/8 and good rim protection to boot? This could be something special.
Behind Brand is Gustavo Ayon, who has bounced around a bit, but big, and does play a little more physical than anyone else in the frontcourt. Mike Scott is the final man off the bench, and has to be looking over his shoulder to the new additions at center to see if he gets to stay in the big city, or start looking at the D-League to stay close or look to move down to small forward.

Power Forward

Moving on . . .up?
Moving on . . .up?
I love Paul Millsap‘s game. He can score from high and low post, isn’t a huge drop in defense and even does this thing called passing better than most.
First rounder Bebe Nogueria has 2 years left in Europe, and you do wonder how much it will take to bring him here. he’s another one of those rail-thin Euros who needs to gain carbs while not losing quickness.  Guy is 7’0, going 225. Someone get this guy some grits!
Second Rounder Mike Muscala is a camp body, but might be able to stick around longer than most second round picks.
Small Forward
Kyle Korver is the incumbent here, and at 6’7, he has a catch and shoot game that keep him on the floor, but is not really a defensive threat to stop anyone or move to SG.
Backing him up is DeMarre Carroll who works HARD on defense and never stops moving. I think he could start playing some serious minutes here, almost like a Bruce Bowen  for the Hawspurs.
The Hawks are set in the frontcourt, as long as Korvers shot keeps falling. But think of some of the lineups they can throw out.
The floating back and forth here could be scary, and if Horford is able to get into Duncan mode, we could be looking at Horford/Millsap/Carroll for a long time.

Shooting Guard

The off Guard position is going to have some fun here. I could even see Korver getting some run here.
Lou Williams has been moved almost exclusively to the SG position, dispite being smaller than I am, and can chug along at 15ppg the issue is Jeff Teague is only 6-2 himself, meaning large guards will continue to give the Hawks fits and make Horford work harder than he should.
Backing Williams up is John Jenkins who is 6-4, still a little small for the position, but is not the scorer that Williams is, but at least won’t be pushed around as easily. This is still a GAPING hole in the Hawks lineup, and Steve Smith isn’t walking through that door.
Finally Jared Cunningham is a camp body, if he lasts that long.

Point GuardJeff Teague

Jeff Teague was left out in the wind for far too long, and even though I have to say upfront I am a Teague supporter, he did get matched and is not going to try and be the man for the Bucks, hes not that good.
With this front court, getting 7.2 APG again would be a MAJOR disappointment. and even at a reduced scoring role, 14.6 PPG should be fine of pick and rolls. He does shoot pretty well for a PG, so there is not a ton not to love about the guy, but he has to get more buckets to have the numbers to back up the contract.
Lou Williams can play some backup, but thats a hard thing to do long term, the “true”backup is Dennis Schroder who is also a bit undersized, but if he game translates to the NBA, will leave a defensive hole , but might bump the scoring up even more.
Shelvin Mack is another camp body.

Bottom line

, I love what Ferry has done, especially considering how many problems he had getting a team together in Cleveland.
I do love the Spurs template that the Hawks are following, and to be honest, I think they would had some issues if they did get Howard. I think they are better off without him.
The big issue that MASSIVE hole at shooting guard. They need size and some outside shooting here.
Now I am not saying they need to find some 6-8 guy and throw in there, but the lack of size in the backcourt is going to cause some issues on the rim and might have an already over-worked Horford even more energy.
but a good third guard that can come in and help on the rotations should be Ferry’s number 1 objective going forward.
Even a guy like Klay Thompson or even OJ Mayo might have been worth taking a flier on. Maybe finding a good combo guard from a team that needs scoring, that is too scared of Ben Gordon’s massive contract will take Lou Williams off their hands.

EJ with the 2nd look:

I’m in agreement with you David. The Hawks have put together a strong roster. While, Horford is under sized for a center, pairing him with Paul Milsapp give the Hawks an impressive front court. I don’t know how the Hawks got Milsapp with a 2 year $19 million deal, but once again teams overlooked Paul and his consistent game. Milsapp and Korver from the outside should make up for the erratic Lou Williams and Jeff Teague. While, I do agree the Hawks need a bigger shooting guard I think the team as currently comprised is good enough to make the playoffs. A 6th or 7th seed makes sense for the Atlanta Hawks.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree. The Hawks didn’t add any flashy names, but they added some solid pieces and should remain a solid playoff team.

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