With the regular season winding down, The Point Forward's Ben Golliver hands out regular season grades for all of the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks earn a B from Golliver who points out that the Hawks are right back in the same familiar place but this time they don't have the heavy payroll hanging over their heads.
Things are far from settled in Atlanta, but things could have gone a lot worse. That's the dual sentiment after a solid bridge year between the monster payroll that first-year general manager Danny Ferry inherited and the financial flexibility he will enjoy this summer. The impending free agency and assumed departure of Josh Smith didn't meaningfully detract from Atlanta's success; neither did a season-ending knee injury in January for 14-point scorer Lou Williams nor the departures of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams in trades last summer. Instead, the Hawks are back in a similar position as last year, when they finished fifth in the Eastern Conference.
With two games remaining Atlanta can finish with as many as 46 regular season wins. They currently are in fifth place in the East but could slide back to sixth depending on how the season ends between them and Chicago. Still when you factor in the losses of Lou Williams and Zaza Pachulia along with more than 20 games lost for Devin Harris, this Hawks team has weathered the storm quite well.
Of course the regular season is a nice footnote but the playoffs are where memories are made and that is where the absence of Williams and Pachulia will show up the most. However, as Golliver also mentions, the decisions that Danny Ferry makes this offseason will have much more to say about this team's future than anything that has taken place on the court in the last six months.
Poll Question: What grade would you give the Hawks for their regular season effort?