The Hawks roster has changed a lot, but the team's success still rests on some familiar backs.
The staff over at HOOPSWORLD have put together a preview of upcoming season for the Atlanta Hawks. The article has pretty good depth and insight largely due to the presence of Lang Greene, a long time follower of the Hawks. The amount of off-season changes gives plenty to discuss and I felt the conclusions were modestly positive.In HOOPSWORLD's Five Guys Think segment you get different writers perspectives on the team. The general consensus in 2nd in the Southeast, but toothless in the playoffs which has been standard for the last 5 years. Only one of the 5 writers even mentions Jeff Teague which continues the baffling trend of the Hawks developing point guard flying under the media radar.
The next section of the preview calls out the top player in different roles. This section really highlights the importance of Josh Smith as he's mentioned as the most explosive offensive player, the top defensive player (not surprising considering he led the entire NBA in defensive win shares last year), and top clutch player for his ability to impact both ends of the floor at crunch time. Al Horford is called out as most efficient offensive player and an expanded role is predicted. Jeff Teague is the top playmaker and his penetration skills should only be enhanced by the new roster.
There's a lot more in their preview that should be read rather than just summarized including 5 people they like on the Hawks, strengths, weaknesses, and an opening day speech that wouldn't be a bad idea for Larry Drew to copy.
The preview ends with a question that I think a lot of Hawks fans have debated themselves. Was the trade of Joe Johnson part of the Hawks reloading on the fly or the start of a massive rebuilding project? While the Hawks have a ton of cap flexibility next summer, my thoughts on that question are that it depends on what happens this season to identify the cornerstones of title contender. If several prove worthy, the Hawks reload. If most prove wanting, the Hawks burn it down. HOOPSWORLD's reaches a similar conclusion and that predicts a very interesting and important season.