Team Name: Atlanta Hawks
Last Year's Record: 48-34
Key Losses: Some guy named Horford, Jeff Teague
Key Additions: Dwight Howard, DeAndre’ Bembry, Taurean Prince, Jarrett Jack, Malcolm Delaney
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?
Jason Walker: Goodbye Al, Hello Dwight, handing the reins over to Dennis Schröder.
Kris Willis: Wow where do we start? We pegged last summer as a pivotal offseason for the franchise and by the time the dust settled Al Horford was in Boston, Jeff Teague was in Indiana and remarkably Dwight Howard was Atlanta’s new center. The team also re-signed Kent Bazemore to a fat four-year deal to be part of the new core going forward.
2. What are the team's biggest strengths?
JW: Coach Bud, Paul Millsap, Sir Foster
KW: When people think of the Atlanta Hawks, the first thing that usually comes to mind is their equal opportunity style on the offensive end of the court. However, their real calling card since the arrival of Mike Budenholzer has been on the defensive end of the floor. This is a team that finished second in defensive rating last year while not having any player that would be classified as a defensive stopper. Atlanta’s biggest strength is their ability to play as a team at both ends of the floor.
3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?
JW: Once rock solid, the core has been shaken with both Teague and Horford jettisoned in the offseason. How will this new bunch gel, if at all, this season?
KW: The biggest reason the Hawks fell from 60 wins to 48 last season was due to a large drop off offensively. Atlanta averaged 106.2 points per 100 possessions during their 60-win campaign but saw that drop to 103.0 last season. The biggest reason for that drop was a decrease in three-point shooting efficiency. Atlanta was second in the league in three-point percentage in 2015 but dropped all the way to 15th last season.
For all of their offseason changes, the Hawks did not add any more shooting to the mix. Any improvement they make will have to come from within and that is still a big question mark heading into the season.
4. What are the goals for this team?
JW: To integrate Howard into the Coach Bud system, improve defensive rebounding, develop the rookies as quickly as possible to contribute rotation minutes, Dennis maturing as a starting PG.
KW: Atlanta made it clear this summer that they have no desire to take a step backwards anytime soon. The goal is not just to make the playoffs but to find success once they are there.