|2012-13 Team Rating|
|15th Overall||10th Overall|
2012-13 Season Stats
Even with a rock like Al Horford, the Hawks will miss the chaos that Josh Smith brought for nine seasons. Paul Millsap and Elton Brand bring a certain steadiness, but neither passes or defends as well as Smith. Gustavo Ayon was a nice pickup to fill the hole left by Zaza Pachulia.
Jeff Teague and John Jenkins will not strike fear in the opposition. A healthy Lou Williams will bolster this group's bottom line, but depth is an issue. Rookie point Dennis Schroeder offers some intrigue; he's a prospect who could outperform his Draft slot.
The defensive continuity that was built up over the past three seasons has all but disappeared with a busy offseason. The Hawks will need Millsap and Brand and some of the other new faces step up to regain any defensive chemistry.
A healthy Williams makes this bunch. Before a knee injury last season he routinely led the Hawks down the stretch. If Williams isn't ready for the start of the season, the bench will have to establish an identity. Schroeder is still too young to assume that role.
Mike Budenholzer came with high recommendations, a Gregg Popovich seal of approval, and will have a very specific style in his first stint as a head coach. But Coach Bud won't be working with the sort of personnel he had in San Antonio.
The Hawks entered the free agent summer of 2013 with their sights set on a big prize like Dwight Howard or Chris Paul and finished with Millsap and Kyle Korver and some Draft gems that probably won't produce major dividends for years to come. So the prospect of this team climbing the charts in the Eastern Conference is a longshot. Changing your coach and your core in the same summer is usually a recipe for complete disaster. But the Hawks should still have enough to fight for one of those final three playoff spots in the East.
The bigger question is what Hawks GM Danny Ferry has planned for the future. If they are not going the superstar route this time around, they certainly won't have that option next summer, when the free-agent crop could include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and others. Ferry and Budenholzer want to build a team using the Spurs' model but don't have the necessary pieces in place right now to make that dream a reality. There is still plenty of heavy lifting to do for the Hawks, on and off the floor.
-- Sekou Smith
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||B+|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|