Our 2016-17 season predictions continue with a look at what player will be the biggest surprise for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2016-17 season.
Who will be this season’s biggest surprise?
Phil Naessens: Taurean Prince is going to surprise plenty and if he gets the minutes he could be in the running for rookie of the year.
Kris Willis: Easy answer is Malcolm Delaney. Most saw Jarrett Jack as the likely backup point guard behind Dennis Schroder but the reality was that it was Delaney’s job to lose the moment he signed in Atlanta. Delaney brings some much needed shooting to the lineup. He didn’t disappoint during the preseason and should get better as he gets more comfortable with Atlanta’s system.
Brad Rowland: Putting this in a player sense is interesting in that I don’t think there’s a particular player who is set to break out. In the end, I’ll settle on Malcolm Delaney, simply because a lot of people are doubting him as a backup point guard. I’ve long thought Delaney would be Schröder’s backup (since the moment he signed) and I think he’ll quickly establish himself as, at minimum, an average backup point guard. That is all he needs to be.
Glen Willis: Malcolm Delaney. The casual NBA fan does not even know who he is but I am going to predict he gets at least one vote for the 6th man of the year award. I think he is the best offensive player on the Hawks bench right now.
Thomas Jenkins: There are several answers to this question, especially since this team is split fairly evenly between established veterans and young, unproven players. If one of the veterans (Korver, Howard) end up as the biggest surprise, it will probably be because age causes a steep decline. If it’s one of the newer players (Prince, Bembry), it will probably be for much more more positive reasons. Ultimately, though, I think the biggest surprise player will be Mike Muscala. He got a lot of preseason minutes, and looked like the coaching staff’s first choice off the bench. With Splitter’s health an ever-looming question, Muscala looks ready to benefit from more playing time this season.
Chris Herbert: I'll say Mike Muscala. The most versatile big man on the roster not named Paul, Muscala has played a lot of minutes in the preseason as the first big off the bench. Last season, Muscala looked confused at times on defense, but he will he needed, especially whenever Howard gets in foul trouble. I think Muscala can make a jump on the defensive side of the ball.
Josh Lane: Malcolm Delaney just because as of now he is a complete unknown by everyone and because many people had him behind Jarrett Jack. So if he can come out and be dependable then that should help soften the impact of losing Jeff Teague.
Jason Walker: Wishful thinking perhaps, or just scorned lover talk, but the surprise will be how much less the Hawks will miss Al Horford that first imagined.
Harry Lyles Jr.: I’m going with Taurean Prince here. I think he can really flourish on this team, and he’s coming into a situation where a lot of weight isn’t going to be put on his shoulders. He’s already a very talented player, and when you put them around other talent early, that usually breeds good results.
Tyler Duke: How about Kyle Korver? Many have dismissed him with this roster and even began planning his move to the bench. I think with a full offseason healthy and getting his routine back, Korver will bounce back and have another elite shooting season in 2016-17.