The Atlanta Hawks were one of the more surprising teams last season. They posted a franchise best 60-22 record, including going undefeated (17-0) in the month of January. The team had four players (Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford) voted to the All-Star Game which has only happened seven times in the history of the league. Atlanta finished the season winning the division as well as the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Coach Mike Budenholzer really brought the best out of his guys last year, something he learned from Gregg Popovich. The team made a deep run in the playoffs, eventually getting swept in the Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There were two priorities Atlanta had this offseason: re-signing both defensive stopper DeMarre Carroll and two-time All-Star Paul Millsap. They were only successful with one, signing Millsap to a three-year, $59 million contract and Carroll unfortunately left to sign with the Toronto Raptors. The Hawks made two low-key trades this summer for Tiago Splitter and Tim Hardaway Jr. from the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks, respectively. Splitter has the playoff experience to help both Millsap and Horford down in the frontcourt. Hardaway Jr. adds nice depth at the wing. With Carroll gone it leaves a hole at the small forward position, but look for guys like Thabo Sefolosha, Kent Bazemore or Hardaway Jr. to compete for this minutes at the three.
Projected Starting lineup
- PG: Jeff Teague
- SG: Kyle Korver
- SF: Thabo Selfolosha
- PF: Paul Millsap
- C: Al Horford
What should the fans look forward to this season?
The depth is something to look at. I know most regular fans who want the starting five to play all 82 games, but that is rarely the case. The bench is key, especially in the later part of the season, and the Atlanta Hawks have that. Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Tim Hardaway Jr., Mike Scott and Tiago Splitter to me does not seem like bad group of guys to rely on if any of the starters miss time.
Who can emerge as a star?
Jeff Teague made a big leap last season being selected as an All-Star and being the floor general for the best record team in the East. While he has been overshadowed by other top-tier point guards, he is somebody that you should not sleep on as he can compete with the best of them.
What will be their final record?