The mania of July is beginning to die down across the NBA and, for the most part, the Atlanta Hawks have their roster for the 2017-2018 season. There is, of course, still room for maneuvering should Travis Schlenk be motivated to get creative but the team has 13 players under contract and that is plenty to evaluate.
With that in mind, the good folks at CBS Sports graded each NBA team’s offseason and, along with it, provided a win-loss projection from their statistically driven website in SportsLine. As you might imagine, the Hawks weren’t graded favorably based on the roster uncertainty and this is what Matt Moore had to say.
New GM Travis Schenk cleaned house, taking a power washer to the books. Miles Plumlee is their third-highest-paid player. They lost a lot of talent. They still don't have a reliable young core and Dennis Schröder is their best player. The tank is on.
For a bit of additional background, it was Moore that ranked the Hawks dead last in an offseason power rankings earlier this month and he clearly doesn’t buy the roster as currently constructed. Still, the statistical model is (much) kinder to Atlanta, providing 33.2 wins and, by extension, 48.8 losses.
That record is good for the No. 11 perch in the Eastern Conference and a 10.3 percent chance to make the playoffs. Amusingly, that playoff percentage almost seems low based on how weak the Eastern Conference is because it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that a team could be playoff bound with 35-37 wins.
In some ways, winning 33 games or so would be the worst case scenario for the Hawks. The rebuilding effort mutated a bit in the latter stages with signings of Dewayne Dedmon and Ersan Ilyasova, presumably with an eye on winning more games and an ere of respectability. That makes some sense, given the reasonable contracts handed out to both players, but they also don’t “help” the Hawks meaningfully in the pursuit of a top-tier asset that could arrive via a high draft pick in 2018.
The debate will rage as to whether the Hawks “did too much” this offseason and will “win too many games” as a result. This is simply one statistical projection but, if it holds, the Atlanta Hawks won’t be as bad as some seem to think in 2017-2018.