I've decided to do a team preview for every team, and was planning on waiting until the 30th to begin so I could do one each day until the start of the season but I've decided to start a little bit early.
First up, in alphabetical order ofcourse, is the Atlanta Hawks... enjoy!
2011-2012 Record: 40-26
Head Coach: Larry Drew
Key Additions: Lou Williams, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow, John Jenkins, Damion James
Key Losses: Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Kirk Hinrich, Tracy McGrady, Willie Green
Projected Two Deeps:
PG- Jeff Teague / Lou Williams
SG- Devin Harris / Anthony Morrow
SF- Damion James / Kyle Kover
PF- Josh Smith / Ivan Johnson
C- Al Horford / Zaza Pachulia
Josh Smith (18.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 52% FG)
Jeff Teague (15.4 ppg, 5.9 apg, 1.3 spg, 38% 3PT)
Al Horford (14.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 51% FG)
Lou Williams (13.8 ppg, 2.9 apg, 2.5 rpg, 36% 3PT)
Anthony Morrow (9.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 41% 3PT)
Devin Harris (9.1 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.8 rpg, 1.0 spg)
Kyle Korver (6.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 40% 3PT)
Damion James (5.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.6 spg, 44% FG)
Zaza Pachulia (4.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 49% FG)
Ivan Johnson (3.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 54% FG)
John Jenkins (3.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 34% 3PT)
Mike Scott (1.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 0.2 apg, 9.4 mpg)
Johan Petro (1.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.3 bpg, 11.5 mpg)
Hawks' Strengths: Perimeter Shooting, Frontcourt Production, Interior Defense, Playoff Experience
Hawks' Waknesses: Perimeter Slashers, Go-To Scorer, Coaching, Backcourt Size
Roundup: Newly-hired GM Danny Ferry made an instant splash by sending away the monstrous contracts of Marvin Williams and Joe Johnson which made him instantly appreciated by the Atlanta community. On the flip side, Ferry failed to bring in a small forward capable of starting at this level. That being said, Ferry brought in a bevy of outside shooters who can stretch the floor beyond belief. Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Lou Williams will provide Atlanta's backcourt with extreme quickness and versatility as each can play on and off the ball.The Hawks will have to live with offensively limited Damion James, defensively limited Kyle Korver and undersized Anthony Morrow on the wing. Also look for rookie John Jenkins to press the veterans for minutes. Look for Al Horford and Josh Smith to step up their production as both will be heavily leaned on to produce with the departure of Joe Johnson. Expect Josh Smith to finally get his 1st all-star nod, after years of playing like one. My concerns for the Hawks are that they don't have anyone on the wing who can create his own shot and Larry Drew also has some limitations as a coach. Other than that, I expect this Hawk team to return to the playoffs as the #8 seed due to their shooting, backcourt depth, and frontcourt playoff experience.
Projected Record: 40-42 (8th in East)
The Hawks are going to be terrible. This team has 25-29 wins and a midseason firesale of Josh Smith written all over them. Joe Johnson was a big contract, but he was also a great talent who was a huge part of their success. Marvin Williams never lived up to his draft slot, but he was a 39 percent three-point shooter last year. He was a good wing defender. They took two of their four best players and turned them into Devin Harris, Lou Williams and a bunch of guys. Most of those guys are shooters who need someone else to set them up, and their point guard is going to be either Jeff Teague, Devin Harris or Lou Williams, none of whom are going to be up to that challenge. They are all shoot first guys, so this supposed strength of three point shooting is vastly overrated. What will translate, however, is the fact that none of them can come close to defending as well as Joe Johnson or Marvin Williams. They are going to be worse on both ends because of the moves they made, and are going to be in the mix for a top ten, maybe top five pick.
You're undervaluing Al Horford and Josh Smith (a lot) and severely undervaluing the luxury of perimeter shooting... This team has a load of guys who can stroke the ball, and Damion James and DeShawn Stevenson are willing defenders...Not sure why you think this team is worse than charlotte, milwaukee, toronto, cleveland, detroit, orlando, or even washington...
Al Horford and Josh Smith are good, but the rest of the roster is in complete rebuild mode which is as clear as day. Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams were good players, Johnson probably a notch below great. They gave away Joe Johnson for nothing of note and dealt Williams for a replicate of what they already had at point. The Nets had possibly the worst performing bench in the NBA last year, and that bench (almost in its entirety) is what Atlanta received for Joe Johnson who was either their best or second best player.
I am also not undervaluing the luxury of perimeter shooting, but Atlanta was fifth in the NBA in three point shooting percentage. The value there was that they weren't specialists. Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Tracy McGrady, Kirk Hinrich, Willie Green, and Jannero Pargo weren't just shooters. 145 of 172 shots DeShawn Stevenson took last year were threes (and he made 28 percent of them). Almost all of Anthony Morrow’s shots were threes or long twos. John Jenkins is a shooting specialist. Kyle Korver is Kyle Korver. They aren’t as versatile as the players they are replacing, and the Hawks will not have the point play to put them in a position to succeed. At best, you can argue that their bench will not be worse than what they had last year, but once again they gave away Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams to assemble it.
Damion James will give great effort, but the reason he is a fringe player in the NBA is that he is worse offensively than he is good defensively. Whether they start James, Anderson, Stevenson, or Korver, I just don't think they are going to get so much as break even production. If they slide over Smith, then they are looking to move Mike Scott, Ivan Johnson, or Zaza into the starting lineup, which isn't really any better.
I think that there is no way they finish better than Milwaukee (top 8 of Jennings, Ellis, Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova, Dalemert, Dunleavy, Gooden, and Udrih) or Washington (Wall, Beal, Ariza, Okafor, Nene, Webster, Seraphin, and Crawford) and think they can easily finish behind every other non-Bobcat team on that list. Those two teams have far superior talent and depth. The Pistons are going to be as good as the development of Brandon Knight and the young front court players who will line up next to Monroe (Drummond, Slava, Jerebko, and Singler). Dwane Casey will have Toronto trying to defend, though I am not sure how they are going to look offensively. I think they have too many guys who look out for themselves to win that many games. Cleveland has a star-in-the-making with Kyrie, and a frontcourt that at least appears interesting. Zeller, a healthy Varejao, Thompson, Kevin Jones, and Jon Leuer seem to be decent enough, despite the fact that no one of them are going to be as good this year as Antawn Jamison was last year. Orlando has pros. They didn't accumulate Net mistakes. Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis, Al Harrington, and Hedo are established pros. Not a star in the bunch, but guys who are not walk overs. Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson offer a size and skill combination that most teams do not have in a 21 and 22 year old. If they produce as capably as I think they can, then I think they are closer to the playoffs than the Hawks. Atlanta doesn't really have upside for this year. You basically swapped Devin Harris, Josh Smith, and Al Horford in for Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, and Brook Lopez.
Good stuff. Nixon does this with the NCAA. It's about time somebody did it for the NBA.
I can see where BTPH is coming from, but let's see if Teague can take his game up several notches. Idk if they'll make the playoffs, but I think they'll be better than a lot of people think.
they must get rid of jenkins, morrow or korver. they are all the same player.
BTPH brings up some solid points but he's not really taking into consideration how valuable playoff experience is, which teams like Milwaukee, Washington, Charlotte, Toronto, Cleveland and Detroit havent tasted...
Josh Smith, Al Horford, Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia, Ivan Johnson, Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson and Lou Williams all have playoff experience...
If Teague grows up quick, this team could be a playoff team
This is what I think of the Atlanta Hawks offseason - they got a lot worse. However, even though they will not be a very good team this season, they cleared up a ton of cap space in trading away Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. Sure, they traded away two of their better players, but they needed to in order to rebuild.
With the roster they had, they were not going to win a championship. It just wasn't managable. That's obviously every teams' goal, and in order to achieve that, they had to strategize a new approach. That approach was to trade HUGE contracts away for smaller, lesser-value players. Did it hurt their team now? It sure as hell did. But, I think this move will help the team in the long run. They don't have to pay Joe Johnson that ridiculous amount of money anymore, and now they will have money to spend in the upcoming offseason.
It will be a struggle in Atlanta this season for sure. However, one frustrating year is all it should take before they get back into the playoffs. Jeff Teague, Josh Smith, and Al Horford are all good players to build around, and I think Atlanta made the right moves this offseason for the sake of their franchise in the long term run.
Teague, Smith, and Horford all need big seasons for a chance at a playoff birth. Morrow is really intriguing, too. If they get him some shots he can show how killer his jumpshot can be. Josh Smith will never shoot 52% as long as he believes he can sink 3s.