Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Atlanta Hawks Season Ends

The Atlanta Hawks were abruptly dumped from the playoffs after losing four straight games to the Cleveland Cavaliers in their Eastern Conference semi-final series.  It wasn't a pretty end for a 48 win team but Cleveland was by far the better team in this series.  Atlanta has nice pieces but they don't have the roster to really compete over the long haul with the better teams.  It will be looked at as a disappointing end to the season but I was just happy they made it past Boston, which they nearly did not do.  Paul Millsap had an excellent year and despite me being hesitant about the Hawks signing him to a new deal he did great and is a good fit in this offense.  He is also good on defense which is key to any Hawks' success.  Al Horford's numbers were down across the board as he becomes a free agent but is still considered the leader of this team.  Jeff Teague had a solid year but his shooting and assists were not as good as the last two seasons.  Kyle Korver is what he is.  A very good shooter, not a scorer who put up only nine points per game.  Kent Bazemore had a good season and shows promise for developing into an even better player in the future. 

So this season comes to an end and Atlanta now look towards the offseason and the decisions that must be made.  Al Horford, Kent Bazemore,  Kris Humphries, Kirk Hinrich, and Mike Muscala (team option) are all free agents.  Horford is well regarded around the league and beloved in Atlanta.  I'd love to see him back with the Hawks though it seems like a tough sell if he gets a max contract.  Kris Humphries looked like a great late season pickup in the last few games against Cleveland so I could see him staying in Atlanta.  Bazemore is a good piece but Atlanta may look for a better more experienced scorer.   

There were rumors of a Jeff Teague trade at the trading deadline that never went anywhere.  In the playoffs Dennis Schroder showed he can run this team and I think Atlanta wants him to.  I think Teague and his $8M contract will be traded and the keys to the offense will be handed over to Schroder.  That
combined with what happens to Horford will determine the next move.  Atlanta needs more scoring if you ask me.  They get a combined 20 points from the starting SF and SG which won't cut it.  More to the point there is no one guy you can just give the ball to at the end of the game and say "go win us this game".  With the cap going up they might be able to resign Horford and get that guy.  But there are no guarantees.  Everyone will have money so navigating free agency this year may be dicey.  I do think changes are necessary.  I'd like to see them pick up that scorer or maybe two at the right price.  It would give them some scoring punch and maybe let Kyle Korver come off the bench.  Again free agency could be pretty crazy so who knows what might happen.  This was a good year though I understand if folks
are disappointed.  I just look forward to what will hopefully be a fruitful offseason.   

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