NBA Preview: Hawks get bigger, but not really much else
Hawks spent offseason adding frontcourt depth, but hard to tell if they're actually improved.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
Editor’s note: This is the 12th of Sam Amico’s look at all 30 NBA teams heading into the 2013-14 season.
Meet the Hawks
Atlanta Hawks sure have cornered the market on power forwards. In fact, if the game consisted of nothing but power forwards, the Hawks might win it all.
This isn’t intended to pick on Hawks general manager Danny Ferry. Most people in basketball understand you can never have too many bigs -- and the Hawks do indeed have plenty.
It all starts with center Al Horford, who is clearly the main man after former frontcourt sidekick (and fellow borderline All-Star) Josh Smith departed for Detroit.
You could do a lot worse than Horford. Not only is he a more-than-capable scorer and rebounder, he’s a great teammate and top-notch locker room guy.
But the size doesn’t end there. The Hawks added Pau Millsap, Elton Brand, Gustavo Ayon and Pero Antic in free agency. And you guessed it -- each plays power forward (although a couple can shift to center when needed).
This is in addition to second-year power forward Mike Scott, from whom the Hawks are expecting nice things. That is, assuming new coach Mike Budenholzer can find minutes for the guy.
The Hawks also signed DeMarre Carroll, an underrated small forward who does many of the things that matter well. In the backcourt, they re-inked shooter Kyle Korver and point man Jeff Teague.
Guards Lou Williams, second-year man John Jenkins and rookie Dennis Schroeder offer an efficient trio off the bench, giving the Hawks depth at nearly every position.
Now, will this roster actually work with a first-time coach? Eh, that’s one big mystery.
But if we know the Hawks, we know they wouldn’t want their mysteries any other way.
Coach: Mike Budenholzer (first NBA season)
Last season: 44-38, lost to Indiana in first round of playoffs.
Projected starters: C Al Horford; PF Paul Millsap; SF DeMarre Carroll; SG Kyle Korver; PG Jeff Teague.
Key reserves: PF Elton Brand; SG Lou Williams; SG John Jenkins; PG Dennis Schroeder (r); PF Mike Scott; PF/C Gutsavo Ayon; PF Pero Antic (r).
New faces: Budenholzer, Millsap, Carroll, Brand, Schroeder, Ayon, Antic.
Outlook: Aside from perhaps Horford, the Hawks’ roster isn’t exactly littered with all-pro candidates. It’s fairly bland, actually. But with Horford and Korver, they clearly possess the type of inside-outside punch that can kill you. Throw in the heady Teague, and the Hawks have the floor leader to go with it. Also, Budenholzer arrives after years as Gregg Popvich’s assistant, so you can’t help but believe the man knows how to win games. At the very least, the Hawks should be able to do that just about half the time.