The 2017-2018 NBA season is rapidly approaching, even if it feels far away at this juncture. The Atlanta Hawks may not be a title contender but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any intrigue surrounding the team and, before training camp gets underway, our Peachtree Hoops staff came together to address ten topics about the squad.
The first edition broke down the team’s biggest strength for the upcoming season and that was followed up by the flip side in evaluating Atlanta’s biggest weakness. Elsewhere, we took a glance at some position battles to monitor, John Collins’ role as a rookie, and today’s topic is an attempt to find the best player on the roster, with the additional nod toward whether that could change in-season.
Brad Rowland: Dennis Schröder is the best player on the team, even if I’m not a full-fledged believer. His counting stats were strong a year ago and we saw flashes of the defensive intensity (at least in the playoffs) that he was known for in his previous bench role. More than anything, though, it is Schröder by default, unless someone like Prince breaks out in his sophomore season. I don’t think Schröder, on his contract, is the best asset on the roster but he’s the best player for now.
Graham Chapple: It’s Dennis Schroder and it’s not even close, nor do I believe it will be close by the end of the season. It’s as simple as that.
Greg Willis: Dennis Schroder is the best player on this team and the Hawks need him to play at the top of his game on both ends of the floor. The only chance I see of this changing by the end of the season would be a terrible scenario in which Dennis regresses. I want to see Taurean Prince and John Collins both have terrific seasons, but I don’t want to see Dennis Schroder go backwards.
Glen Willis: Dennis Schroder and there is not even a close second right now. And I am a believer in Schroder’s potential to develop as a more consistent perimeter shooter. I think Prince is the team’s second best player because of his ability to defend at the point of attack. Last season, only five wing players finished ahead of him in DPRM per ESPN. He has all of the raw skills to be an elite wing defender in the league and showed enough last season that it looks very real to me. John Collins is the best athlete on this team and it will be interesting to see what the perception of him is by the end of the season.
Jeff Siegel: Schröder’s the best player on the roster, though he certainly doesn’t have much competition for that title. By the end of the year, it’s possible that Taurean Prince has taken the throne from him, but I don’t expect him to take that large of a leap forward. Schröder can defend his position, can get to the rim whenever he wants, and is an above-average finisher once he gets there. It would take a massive improvement from Prince to surpass Schröder in on-court value this season.
RedRev: Dennis Schroder. This one is easy especially on the offensive end. Let’s hope we are talking about his defensive improvement by the end of the season.
Thomas Jenkins: As much as I’m hitting the same notes that everyone else is, I’ll say Dennis Schroder as well. He’s proved that he can start in the NBA, and can even be the starting point guard on a playoff team. Atlanta hasn’t had its best player be under the age of 25 in quite some time, so even if Schroder isn’t an ideal first choice, it’s great to once again see the importance and prominence on young talent.