The 2016 offseason has been dissected from virtually every angle in this space, but the reviews keep coming for the Atlanta Hawks. Chad Ford of ESPN ($) released his Eastern Conference offseason grades this week and the draft expert provided a “C-minus” mark for Mike Budenholzer’s team.
First, Ford took on the swap from Al Horford to Dwight Howard, leaving the Hawks in a generally positive place.
The Hawks replace Horford with Dwight Howard. While Howard won't fill Horford's shoes offensively, he's an upgrade as a defensive rebounder and, given the other potential free agents out there, he was probably as good as they were going to get to replace Horford.
Then, the Kent Bazemore contract appeared, and while Ford wasn’t exactly complimentary, some backhanded optimism came to light.
Bazemore's $70 million contract appears to borderline on absurd at first glance, but given some of the other deals that went down this summer, I'm not sure he even qualifies for the list of 10 most overpaid free agents.
Because the piece is Insider-only, we won’t provide the entirety of the Hawks clip here, but Ford’s overarching takeaway was that Atlanta “took a step back” and that the team will be “fighting for their playoff lives in April”. This isn’t the first time that a pundit has made this claim, but with various Eastern Conference contenders earning higher marks (including an A-minus for the Boston Celtics), it isn’t terribly inspiring.
What do you think about Atlanta’s offseason with a bit of time to reflect on what transpired? Is Ford right? Too high? Too low?