Atlanta Hawks Season Preview: A New Direction

Team Capsule

Last year, the Atlanta Hawks finished 40-26 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics. By looking at that stat, one would assume that the Hawks are going to be a lot better this year.

Everyone who assumed that is wrong.

After the playoffs last season concluded, the Hawks decided it was time for a change, and they traded away star guard Joe Johnson (who averaged 18.8 PPG) to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Deshawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, a 2013 first-round draft pick and a 2017 second-round draft pick. Yes, the Hawks got a lot in exchange for their star, but none as good as Joe Johnson.

This means that the Hawks are most likely no longer headed into the “Championship” direction, they’re  headed in the “re-tooling” direction. Listen: I mean re-TOOLING not reBUILDING.

Biggest Strength:  Long-range shooting

Atlanta lost two of their best long-range shooters this offseason in Marvin Williams and Joe Johnson, but the addition of players Anthony Morrow, Kyle Korver and rookie John Jenkins will make up for the losses and might even combine to have better offensive production.

Biggest Weakness: Wing players

Although in total, the Hawks made up for the loss of their prime shooters, their small forward position has significantly weakened. Last year, the small forwards on the Hawks were Johnson, Williams and Tracy McGrady. This year? Damion Jones, Kyle Korver and Deshawn Stevenson. Which set of players would you rather have? Exactly. That’s the issue here with Atlanta.

Player to Watch: Anthony Morrow

Shooting guard Anthony Morrow came from the trade that sent Joe Johnson to the Nets. He is behind  Louis Williams on the depth chart, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Morrow overtook him.

In his 4 years in the NBA (2 with Golden State and 2 with the Nets), Morrow has averaged 12.1 PPG and is a 43% three point shooter (not to mention 90% from the line). He hasn’t gotten much recognition but Hawks fans should get pretty excited about Morrow this year.

2011-2012 Record: 40-26

Coach: Larry Drew (84-64 career)

Key Additions: Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow, Deshawn Stevenson, Devin Harris

Korver, Morrow and Stevenson will provide for the loss of Joe Johnson while Devin Harris is a great backup for Jeff Teague and will get significant playing time.

Key Subtractions: Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams

Marvin Williams was a great shooter and a really important piece to Atlanta’s success last year. Joe Johnson may have outlasted his welcome in Atlanta, but losing the cornerstone player of the past seven years is a loss that will always hurt.

Team Trajectory: Flat

The Hawks have a different style team this year, and even though they have different players filling the gaps left by Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams, they won’t be able to improve on what they had the past 2-3 years. Anthony Morrow will be better that expected, but the team may not live up to the expectations of the fans. The good news is that the team is not headed downward, and with just a little work will be fine in the future.

Projected Record: 45-37

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About Jameson Draper
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One Response to Atlanta Hawks Season Preview: A New Direction

  1. Pingback: Brooklyn Nets Season Preview: Starting Fresh | Hoop City Blog

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