Training camp is around the corner for the Atlanta Hawks, so we give you our insights on the way the team is shaping up. Be sure to vote below on who you think could make the team!
1. Which of the non-roster camp invites will play well? Will it be enough to get a deal with the Hawks?
Josh Lane: I think Lamar Patterson will play well and will have a good case to get put on the final roster thanks to the recent news of Jason Richardson retiring. That said, I think Justin Holiday will get the most minutes as a backup SF until Thabo returns which means Lamar Patterson could get added to the roster. But once Thabo returns and is comfortable playing again, he's gone.
Kris Willis: This is always a tough one because it is hard to project how many opportunities camp invites will get. I'm intrigued by a guy like DeQuan Jones, but I think Lamar Patterson is the safest bet here. He is familiar with the system and the coaching staff. Given that he was a draft pick in 2014, you have to figure that he will get an opportunity at some point. Will it be enough to capture the last roster spot? Pretty hard to say at this point, but I think he has the best chance of sticking.
Brad Rowland: My favorite of the non-roster invites is Terran Petteway. To be fair, I would have said Jason Richardson prior to his sudden retirement, but Petteway presents the highest upside of any camp invite, and his shooting and length are very interesting. If forced to make a prediction, I would say that the Hawks don't keep anyone beyond the 14 players under guaranteed deals, but Petteway or Lamar Patterson ending up on the roster wouldn't be the most shocking thing I've seen.
Harry Lyles, Jr.: I believe we can expect to see good showings from Terran Petteway and Lamar Patterson. They had good showings in Summer League, and it will be interesting to see if they can carry that momentum into camp. I think if either of the two gets a deal with the Hawks, it'll be Patterson.
Mark Phelps: Lamar Patterson seems like the most likely candidate, but Terran Petteway intrigues me more than the rest. He seems to have the most upside of the group, but in all honesty, I doubt any of the camp invites make it to the main roster now. Impress now, and perhaps they get a 10-day contract late in the season. That's what they should be aiming for.
2. What will the wing rotation look like?
Lane: When healthy, I am going to assume that Thabo and Kyle will start with THJ and Bazemore as the primary backups. Now if Justin can shoot and defend as advertised, then depending on the matchup, he can be put in with Bazemore to provide defense or he can be put in with THJ to help space the floor.
At the beginning of the season, I think we will see Bazemore and Kyle starting since Thabo will still be recovering. After those two then we will see Hardaway and Holiday as the primary backups unless someone under performs and we decide to go with the two point guard lineup.
Willis: Hopefully, we get some hints during the preseason. Mike Budenholzer is notoriously vague when it comes to this subject so I wouldn't expect many straight answers during the preseason. The Hawks have a lot of options on the wing and it is a safe bet to say that not all will be a regular part of the rotation, especially once Thabo Sefolosha returns. Korver and Bazemore are locks to start the season while Tim Hardaway Jr. and Justin Holiday will likely get an early opportunity. Once Sefolosha returns, one of that group could be on the outside looking in. Budenholzer's willingness to deploy two point guard lineups could also eat into some of the wing player's minutes.
Rowland: Kyle Korver is seen as the only "lock", but Thabo Sefolosha is going to be prominently involved when healthy. After that, things get muddled. I expect the Hawks to give Tim Hardaway Jr. every opportunity to impress based on what they gave up to acquire him, and I know the organization is very high on Justin Holiday as a 3-and-D player down the line. Things could shift as the season moves along but I'd expect a lot of Bazemore to start (familiarity with the system) with a potential transition to Hardaway and Holiday as guys with higher upside in the second half.
Lyles: I think this might be the most intriguing part of this team. The addition of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Justin Holiday will be interesting to watch. Holiday always made the most of his minutes in his first two seasons in the league, and Hardaway has room to improve, and could become a very key player on this team. The development of Bazemore will also be interesting to watch, and hopefully Sefolosha will recovery nicely from his leg injury. And of course, Threezus will be Threezus.
Phelps: Until Sefolosha gets to 100 percent, Korver and Bazemore will probably get the starting nod, since Baze is a natural defensive helper for Kyle. Hardaway will also get a lot of minutes and the opportunity to prove his worth to the Hawks, since so many questioned the trade in the first place. Holiday will provide depth, but once Thabo returns, I see him getting pushed out of the rotation almost entirely except in cases of injury or garbage time.
3. Will Coach Bud use more two point guard lineups?
Lane: I think we will only see it early in the season while the new/injured guys on the wing get acquainted to the system. After that I don't really see a reason to play the two PG lineup (which should just be Dennis and Jeff) unless there is just a matchup issue that benefits the Hawks. Outside of that I do not see a need to play the 2 point guard lineup since the Hawks are best when either Dennis or Jeff are on the floor, unless for some reason Shelvin Mack outplays who we have at the shooting guard position.
Willis: Absolutely and especially if Dennis Schröder continues to improve the way he did last season. I'm not sure that it will be a regular part of the rotation, but I do think it is something we will see on a semi-regular basis.
Rowland: I would expect to see the Teague-Schröder lineup a great deal this year, if for no other reason than to get Dennis on the floor. Schröder is the team's sixth-best player right now (trailing the four guaranteed starters and Tiago Splitter), and given that he is the team's best young asset, the Hawks must give him the opportunity to grow. I don't love the makeup of Teague and Schröder as an on-court pairing, but you have to use the options you're given and Schröder should play more minutes in 2015-2016.
Lyles: I don't think Bud will necessarily use more two point guard lineups, especially considering that the team got deeper in the offseason. We have guys that can play multiple positions, and I feel that having two point guards on the floor might be detrimental to the team.
Phelps: I could see this often in preseason and early in the season, but since the Hawks didn't always fare their best when they shared the court last year (in albeit limited minutes), I doubt it sticks in the long run. A big question for this will be Atlanta's commitment to Schröder as a long-term asset. If they are committed, he could see more time alongside Teague.
4. How will minutes come for Tiago Splitter? Will Millsap play some small forward?
Lane: I think Splitter will probably play 18-20 minutes a game. And no, I do not think Millsap will play much small forward since the Hawks have so many options on the wing. The only way I see Millsap playing the 3 is if there is an injury concern with the guys out on the wing.
Willis: Budenholzer has essentially used a four-man rotation with his bigs while occasionally shortening that to three in certain situations. It looks like Splitter will be the first big off the bench and will play alongside both Paul Millsap and Al Horford at times. Millsap at small forward is something I don't think we will see because he simply isn't going to be able to keep up with most small forwards in the league defensively on a nightly basis. Perhaps he sees minutes there in end of the game situations against certain matchups but it is not something I'm anticipating seeing except in rare instances.
Rowland: I see Splitter landing somewhere in the 20-25 minute range on a nightly basis. One of the great things about Al Horford is his versatility, and that allows him to swing to the power forward position at times to play alongside Splitter. That makes Splitter more than just a "normal" backup center, but rather a quality third big that should see more minutes. As for Millsap, I don't envision a scenario in which he plays the 3 for anything more than spot duty in certain lineups against certain opponents. The wing is deep enough where this shouldn't be a necessity, and I'd be shocked if the organization viewed Millsap playing small forward as anything but an option to be deployed sparingly.
Lyles: Splitter will be able to keep the other bigs fresh, and will get most of his minutes based on the pace of certain games. He will absolutely get minutes outside of just giving the other guys a break, but his addition to the team will give the Hawks a little something extra off the bench. With all of the guys the Hawks already have on the wing, I don't expect Paul Millsap to play small forward. It isn't necessary with all of the other guys on the roster to me.
Phelps: Splitter could easily get 25 minutes a game as I could see the Hawks basically using a three-man rotation at the PF and C spots. Basically, Splitter would be on the floor anytime Horford or Millsap takes a rest, and they could stagger their substitutions to keep two of these three on the floor at all times. That's a formidable punch at the big slots. Millsap could definitely guard some 3s in "big" lineups (think Tobias Harris or Ersan Ilyasova), but I doubt it will be used often. Perhaps Coach Bud will throw this out early in the season to test the experiment, but don't expect it to be a constant thing.