From a basketball point of view, you can argue that the Hawks didn’t get much better this off-season. Shedding big names and large contracts in Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams and getting back much smaller contracts in return will greatly benefit the Hawks in the long run, but not for this coming season. It is going to be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, and understandably so as they failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs for the past few seasons. It was a good run for Joe Johnson in ATL, but it obviously wasn’t going to work out for the Hawks to be able to justify his max deal. Finding a team to take his massive contract is a big win for this team, even more so is finding a taker for the contract of Marvin Williams. Other than those two players, the Hawks lost a bunch of players who will be easily replaced. It will be a different looking team for the Hawks this year and I wouldn’t expect them to be a contender late in the season. But with a good young core still in tact, several big trade pieces left in Horford and Josh Smith along with many expiring contracts the Hawks have a lot of options to build their next team.
1-10 Players Lost Score: 9
Players Obtained:John Jenkins (No. 23) Mike Scott (No. 43) Lou Williams (from Sixers) Devin Harris (from Jazz) Kyle Korver (from Bulls) Anthony Morrow (from Nets) Johan Petro (from Nets) DeShawn Stevenson (from Nets) Jordan Williams (from Nets)
The Hawks pulled off an incredibly bold move this off-season by shedding the contract of Joe Johnson. Then in response went out and signed Lou Williams to a mid-level exception. At just 25 years old, Williams is entering the prime of his career and has shown flashes of brilliance at times. But at 6 foot 1 and considered more of a shooting guard and having never really been apart of a starting rotation, this could end up being an ill-fit. Regardless, the smaller contract and the versatility of Williams will prove to be far more valuable than the black hole Johnson had cast over the Hawks salary cap. The Hawks also traded for the expiring contract of Devin Harris who might benefit from a change of scenery. Also included in the Joe Johnson mega deal to the Brooklyn Nets was Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson and Jordan Williams. Morrow is one of the best 3 point shooters in the game and will provide great offense off the bench. Stevenson is a lock-down defender who always seems to find his way onto winning teams. (not including the Nets) Petro and Williams are young big men who have shown little talent but could be useful on a team that already has its center in place for years to come in Al Horford. Playing alongside Morrow will be another 3-point ace in Kyle Korver. The Hawks also added two draft picks in the late first and second rounds. Jenkins is an undersized shooting guard with a great touch on his jump-shot, and Mike Scott is an undersized power forward who might actually get a chance to play some minutes at the 3 and 4 spots.
All-in-all the Hawks did a tremendous job at finding cheap and talented players to fill the void Johnson left when he was traded, but it appears that many of their players share similar talents. Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, Devin Harris, Korver, Morrow, Stevenson and even Jordan Farmar and John Jenkins will all be looking to log minutes at the 1 and 2, but there just wont be enough minutes to go around. The Hawks will likely run a lot of small lineups which won’t get them far in the Eastern Conference.
1-10 Players Obtained Score: 7
Short Term Outlook: The Hawks have consistently been anywhere in the 4-7 range in playoff seeding these past few years and shouldn’t expect the loss of Johnson to equate to any higher than that. They would actually be lucky if they can secure a playoff spot with so many teams on the rise in the Eastern Conference. They will be a different team, and probably an exciting one too. This new team could bring Josh Smith to life and elevate him to a level everyone believes he has the ability to play on. If Smith can take that next step and become the leader on this team alongside Al Horford, then the Hawks are just a few trades away from a return to relevance. But with the uncertainty of Smith’s impending Free Agency this coming off-season and Horford’s recent track record of injuries, you can never call the Hawks a safe bet. There are too many uncertainties and question marks surrounding this team to accurately position this coming season.
1-10 Short Term Outlook Score:5
Long Term Outlook: This is one area Hawks fans can now consider looking forward to. A little over a month ago the Hawks Long Term Outlook would be highlighted with an aging Joe Johnson. Now that they’ve handed over that burden to the Brooklyn Nets, they’re in the free. The Hawks currently have 4 contracts on the books after this season; Horford, Teague, Jenkins and Williams. Of those 4, only Horford is making a considerable amount of money. Josh Smith and his 13-million dollar expiring contract will most likely be either traded away for pieces this season or the Hawks will re-sign him again. There are so many ways in which the Hawks could bring in a whole new crop of talent, so it will be interesting to see which route they take. Either way, if you’re team isn’t expected to be a contender then it is at least exciting to know they have options and aren’t handcuffed to players who are keeping them from improving. This is exactly where the Hawks are.
1-10 Long Term Outlook Score: 9
State of the Organization Index: 30 out of 40
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