2012-13 W-L: 44-38
Key Additions: Mike Budenholzer, Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, Dennis Schroeder
Departures: Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia
Analysis: It’s an entirely new regime in Atlanta. New coach, no more Josh Smith. What will next season hold for the Hawks? Well, you’re guess is as good as mine. It’s clear that the Hawks wanted to go in a new direction, and they have. Time will tell if whether that direction is up or down.
Paul Millsap and Elton Brand for Josh Smith, really, isn’t that bad of a swap. Perhaps their smartest offseason move so far, however, was when the Hawks finally came to their senses and decided to match the Milwaukee Bucks’ offer sheet that was singed by Jeff Teague. With Teague back in the fold – along with Millsap and a young Dennis Schroeder – look for the Hawks to once again battle for a lower seeded playoff spot. Because, let’s face it, the East is loaded.
The back-to-back NBA Champion Miami Heat, the newly re-vamped Brooklyn Nets, the (healthy) Chicago Bulls, oh yeah, and that little team down in Indianapolis. Sorry, New York. AND THE KNICKS!! How could I forget them. Okay, just kidding about the Knick, but right now they’re better than the Hawks. Tough.
Realistically, a nice season – in the eyes of the Hawks – should be to finish sixth or better in the East. Not sure if that’s going to happen, but that’s the state of Atlanta this year. Teague will continue to improve, Millsap, Brand and Hortford will need time to learn to play together and Schroeder needs to learn the league, and fast. The Hawks still need a new face of the franchise with Smith departing. They Hawks have some nice pieces, but — at the moment — lack star power.
(Projected) 2013-14 W-L: 46-36
I see the Hawks finishing a little better than they did last season and fully expect them to snag the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.