SI.com's Rob Mahoney recently took a closer look at the offseason's of each of the Southeast Division teams and gave the Atlanta Hawks a "C" grade. The Washington Wizards had the best offseason of any team in the division according to Mahoney who game them an A-. The acquisition of Lance Stephenson helped net the Hornets a B while Miami and Orlando earned a D+ and a D respectively.
On the Hawks specifically Mahoney applauded the drafting of Adreian Payne but noted Atlanta's inability (or reluctance) to do anything substantial in free agency.
With both Miami and Indiana crashing back to Earth, this summer could have been a time for bold investments for the Hawks, whose salary cap sheet is completely lacking in any major deadweight salary. Instead, Atlanta chose the quiet route, trusting that its core group of Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver will be enough to compete in an Eastern Conference that looks headed for parity at the top.
Mahoney also showed some concern over giving Thabo Sefolosha a guaranteed three-year deal considering he is 30 and coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro.
At 30 and coming off of a poor shooting season, Sefolosha has some bounce back potential, especially given that he's moving to a weaker conference. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer will welcome Sefolosha's experience, size, defensive mindset, and ability to contribute occasionally on offense without needing the ball, although fully guaranteeing the three-year deal will look regrettable if Sefolosha continues to decline.
I recently took a closer look at what Sefolosha and his fit with the Hawks. I think a lot of his struggles had to do with the calf injury that he sustained during the second half of last season. I did however point out that the Hawks will be looking for him to bounce back to at least his career norms.
Finally, Mahoney does offer praise for the drafting of Payne while recognizing his fit for Mike Budenholzer's offense.
If there's one newcomer to get excited about, it's rookie forward Adreian Payne, selected with the No. 15 pick in June's draft. The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 12.5 points and seven rebounds in Summer League, and he seems to be a nice fit in Atlanta's preferred spread offense. Payne will offer some frontcourt depth behind Horford and Millsap; at 23, he looks ready to contribute as a role player in the short-term.
Will be interesting to see how the frontcourt rotation looks once the season starts. If summer league was any indication, then we could see Payne spending at least a little bit of time at center particularly if the Hawks don't bring in another big body. Atlanta did re-sign Mike Scott this offseason to fit in behind starters Al Horford and Paul Millsap.
Do you think this grade is fair? If not then how would you grade the offseason?