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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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2013/14 NBA Team Preview: Atlanta Hawks

Season Review 2012/13:

Advanced Stats
Numbers
Rank
Pace
92.6
12
Offense
104.8
18
Defense
104.4
10
Rebound
48.1
26

4 Factors
Offense
Numbers
Rank
Defense
Numbers
Rank
eFG%
51.7
6
eFG%
49.6
15
TO%
14.2
25
TO%
14.2
10
Reb%
22.2
27
Reb%
26.4
13
FT%
17.4
28
FT%
18.1
4

Monthly Performance
Record
OffRtg
DefRtg
November
 9-5
105.0
101.4
December
 10-5
108.7
107.0
January
 7-9
105.3
106.6
February
 7-4
112.3
107.4
March
 8-10
105.0
106.4
April
 3-5
107.8
109.6


On their first season without Joe Johnson and with no major signing, the Hawks had a fairly positive season. They started the season very well by winning 20 of their first 30 games, but then they just couldn't keep the same level and when their sixth man Louis Williams suffered a season-ending injury, the Hawks became one of the easier matchups that a top team could get in the playoffs.

Head Coach Larry Drew consistently alternated the starting lineups given the matchups that they were facing that day. When he wanted to play with a “big lineup”, Drew would insert Zaza Pachulia at the Center position, sending Al Horford into the PF position. When the opponent wasn't a very physical one, then Horford would be the team’s starting Center, while Josh Smith would play at the PF position. But when Zaza got injured in March and missed the rest of the season, the Hawks stopped being able to be so versatile on their lineups. This was especially a problem in the first round of the playoffs, when they faced the very physical Indiana Pacers.

After being led on offense by “ISO Joe” for so many seasons, Atlanta changed its offensive structure thanks to their coach. The team shared the ball pretty well and they were the second best team in the league in assists per game. However, their lack of aggressiveness was quite evident, as they were one of the worst teams in the league on offensive rebounding (#27) and FT rate (#28). When Atlanta’s jump shots weren’t going in, the team would immediately struggle, as they couldn’t score via second chance points or from the line.

Defensively, Atlanta struggled on defending rebounding when they were using their small lineup, but given their roster, the fact that the Hawks managed to be the #10 defense in the league shows a great job from Coach Drew.

In the playoffs, after losing the first two games on the road against the Pacers by 27 and 15 points, Atlanta bounced back and won the next two home games also by double digit points. But eventually their jump shooting style cost them deeply, as they scored just 83 and 73 points on the last two games of the series, while shooting a combined of 6-33 3pts!


Offseason Report:

The Hawks suffered huge changes on the offseason, with Danny Ferry being the team’s GM. Even though Larry Drew did a good job with the team, Ferry decided to release him and hire someone who he trusted from the days where they worked together in San Antonio: Mike Budenholzer.

Josh Smith left for the Pistons, but that was quickly compensated with the signing via free agency of Paul Millsap, on a two-year $19 million deal, a very team friendly deal.

Atlanta re-signed Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver to new contracts. Danny Ferry also signed Elton Brand, DeMarre Carroll and Gustavo Ayon on free agency.


Season Preview:

For this season, we are in front of a Hawks team that has potential to be a good team on an Eastern Conference conference that will be loaded with bad teams. The biggest issue is related with the time that their new Head Coach Mike Budenholzer will need to put the team playing with the style that he desires.

Even though this will be Budenholzer’s first experience as a Head Coach on the NBA, we aren’t in front of an inexperienced coach. It’s only need to mention that he was Gregg Popovich’s main assistant coach from 1996 to 2013!

Without Joe Johnson and Josh Smith in Detroit, Al Horford will be the team’s “franchise player” and he is coming from a career season after having a problematic year where he had played just 11 games. With Johnson leaving for Brooklyn, Horford got a high volume of plays destined to him and he responded well to that with 17.4 points per game while shooting 54.3% FG! Not only he had a great mid range game by shooting 43% FG from 16-23 feet, as he also attempted 5.2 shots at the rim per game with 77% FG! I believe that Budenholzer will build the team’s offensive scheme thinking about Horford as the team’s primary offensive weapon.

It will be interesting to check how the Horford/Millsap duo will work, as Millsap’s playing style is similar to Horford’s. Atlanta will have a frontcourt duo that is very talented on offense and that will offer some matchup problems to their opponents, but the same won’t happen on defense, with the team becoming quite vulnerable on defensive rebounding and also against powerful post players. Curiously, the projected main backup for the frontcourt is Elton Brand, who shares the same characteristics from Horford and Millsap, while Gustavo Ayon is currently injured and will miss the start of the season. So, Atlanta will have some depth problems in the frontcourt.

Danny Ferry made the excellent decision of signing DeMarre Carroll, who as an athletic defensive minded player will be used to strengthen the team’s defense. Carroll was very poorly used in Utah by Head Coach Tyrone Corbin and he will have in Atlanta a great opportunity for a breakthrough season.

Jeff Teague was one of the main reasons why Atlanta was such a good passing team last season. He had a boost on assists coming from 4.9 assists per game into 7.2 last season! He also improved his long range shooting and free throw percentage as well. With a long term contract in Atlanta, Teague will be the team’s floor leader. Unfortunately for the team, Louis Williams is still struggling with his injury and he should just return around the All Star break. His absence this season will once again be a huge problem for the team, who will be lacking a ball handler on the second unit who can lead the team’s offense.

Kyle Korver confirmed once again last season that he is one of best shooters in the league by shooting 45.7% 3pts. This was the fourth season in a row that he shot over 40% from behind the line. John Jenkins and Dennis Schroder are two young players that will have to offer the team some solid minutes, given Louis Williams’s injury.

Atlanta hasn't been talked a lot during the off-season, as they don’t have any real superstar on their roster. However, both the new GM and the new Head Coach have given signs of great competence in the past. Their projected starting lineup has everything to be a strong unit, as soon as they find the proper chemistry between them. Besides this potential issue, the team’s lack of depth on the backcourt might hurt them, especially as long as Louis Williams is out. The Hawks are also missing a backup center that can fight against the most powerful centers in the league. However, we are still in front of a team that has potential to be in the Top 5/6 on the Eastern Conference at the end of the regular season, if things work well for them.

My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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