2010 NBA Offseason: Atlanta Hawks

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Atlanta Hawks (Last Year: 53-29)

Live 2010 NBA Draft Grades:

Hawks Overall Team Grade
While I really like ultimately ending up with Jordan Crawford and cash for the 24th pick, I have no idea who this Pape Sy guy is they drafted in the second round. 500,000:1 odds he never plays in the NBA. Anyway, Crawford was one of my sleepers of the 2010 NBA Draft, and being able to nab him at 27 was a terrific value. (Grade: B+)

27. Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier
This pick was acquired with the 31st pick for Damion James whom the Hawks took at 24. I am very high on Crawford and think he is a steal at this point. The Hawks need a shooting guard to replace Joe Johnson, and Crawford is a big-time scorer who will help fill the void right away. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT)

53. Pape Sy, F, Senegal
Not going to lie, I have heard of this guy, but know NOTHING about him. Fran Fraschilla will be disappointed. I’ve had a post player slated in this spot for some time and think Atlanta would have been better off grabbing a big who could maybe play a few miuntes a night rather than taking a guy who will probably never even see the city of Atlanta. (Pick Grade: HUH?)

2009-10 Season Summary:
The steady growth of the Hawks continued in 2009-10 as Atlanta posted their best record since the 1996-97 season and improved their record for the fifth straight year. They earned the third-best record in the Eastern Conference and were considered a sexy sleeper heading into the Playoffs. However, that excitement quickly turned into disappointment as the Hawks needed seven games to eek out a series win against the Bucks in the first round and were then embarrassed in the second round, getting swept by the Magic and losing by an average of more than 25 points per game. With that awful ending to their season came the firing of head coach Mike Woodson.

Still, there were plenty of positives on the court. Al Horford continues to develop into one of the most talented young big men in the league, while the acquisition of Jamal Crawford brought a major boost to the bench as the combo guard was named NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. On the flip side, Marvin Williams took a step back as he saw his playing time decrease due to Crawford’s arrival. Mike Bibby showed his age and is not near the player he was a couple of years ago. While Josh Smith remains a force on both ends of the court, he is beginning to develop into a bit of head case, constantly yelling at referees and opposing fans, and moping when things are not going his way.

Now, the Hawks risk suffering a major setback heading into next season. They have no head coach and their star player is likely leaving via free agency, meaning reaching the same level of success as the team did this past season is unlikely.

2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Al Horford/Zaza Pachulia

PF: Josh Smith/Josh Powell

SF: Marvin Williams/Maurice Evans

SG: Joe Johnson/Jamal Crawford/Jordan Crawford

PG: Mike Bibby/Jeff Teague

NBA Free Agents:

G Mario West (UFA)

C Jason Collins (UFA)

F/C Randolph Morris (UFA)

F/C Joe Smith (UFA)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $66.6 million

2010-11 Salary Cap: $58 million

Offseason Moves:
  • Hawks sign F/C Josh Powell to 1-year, league minimum deal
  • Hawks sign and trade G/F Josh Childress to Phoenix for 2012 second round pick
  • Hawks re-sign SG Joe Johnson to 6-year, $123.7 million deal
  • Hawks deal rights of F Damion James to New Jersey for rights of SG Jordan Crawford and C Tibor Pleiss
  • Hawks deal rights of C Tibor Pleiss to Oklahoma City for Cash Considerations

    NBA Offseason Needs:

    1. Depth on the Wing- The potential and likely loss of Johnson to free agency would be a big blow, but the fact that they have a proven scorer in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Crawford at least gives them an experienced offensive player who can step into the starting role. Still, Atlanta will have to find some depth on the wing especially since Marvin Williams has not lived up to the expectations of being a former second-overall pick in the NBA Draft. The Hawks will have some room under the cap if Johnson signs elsewhere to find some depth or could use the 24th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, where there should be some talented wing players available.

    2. An Experienced Head Coach- Despite finishing with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, Mike Woodson was the scapegoat as the Hawks were swept out of the second round of the playoffs. Atlanta must bring in a head coach who has history of coaching a winning team and who can try to get this still relatively young team over the hump. Avery Johnson’s name has been floated around and he would be a good hire considering his experience in Dallas. The new coach must also bridge the transition the Hawks will go through with their leading scorer likely bolting for greener pastures this offseason.

    3. Who is at the Point?- At the end of the season, Woodson reportedly was ready for a changing of the point guard as he was hoping to have Bibby pass the torch onto last year’s first-round pick, Jeff Teague. With Woodson receiving the boot, the Hawks will now have to figure out what the future holds at the point. Bibby brings a veteran leadership to the lineup, but suffered his worst statistical season in his 12th year in the league and is unquestionably on the downside of his career. Teague saw limited minutes last season and it would be an interesting decision to hand the keys to the offense to a young player on a 53-win team.

    4. A Chemistry Set- I was able to cover Game 6 of the Hawks’ first-round game versus Milwaukee and literally sat on the baseline a few feet away from the Atlanta bench. One thing that stood out was how disinterested this team seemed. During timeouts, players were barely paying attention to what the coaches were saying, more interested in checking out the dance team members than worrying about what to do on the floor. Smith had to be reprimanded by the staff during every timeout, and reminded to keep his head in the game and ignore everything happening off the court. Even though he was the team’s go-to player, Johnson did not demonstrate the leadership abilities that this team needed. Whoever gets hired as the new head coach must bring this team together and improve their chemistry.


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