The Atlanta Hawks finished the season with the Eastern Conference’s best record at 60-22. However, they were eliminated from the playoffs in the conference finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers. They had an excellent core with veteran stars such as Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and Kyle Korver. However, Thabo Sefolosha missed the playoffs last year due to an injury he sustained during his arrest for DUI and Jeff Teague went down with an injury during the start of the Cleveland series. The Hawks entered the offseason with a good team still intact, but were still on the lookout to improve.
What They Did:
The Hawks acquired Tiago Splitter (center) in a trade with San Antonio. Splitter was one of the Spurs’ most solid role players and the Hawks acquired him with the clear intention of being able to cope with Cleveland’s inside game if they should meet in the playoffs again. They also acquired Tim Hardaway, Jr. in a trade with the next. He should provide them with depth at the guard positions.
Graphic via picpicx
The Hawks drafted Kelly Oubre, a small forward from Kansas. However, he was immediately traded to Washington for a future draft pick.
What They Did Not Do:
The Hawks have not acquired a significant star or role player to bolster their outside game. While Kyle Korver’s shooting (shooting guard) is among the best in the league, he cannot carry their outside game alone. Jeff Teague does provide solid play at the point guard position, but the Hawks need players who can provide them with more consistent scoring.
Graphic via thesportsquotient
What to Expect Next Year:
The Atlanta Hawks will hopefully start next season with a clean bill of health and they will hopefully finish it with the same health as well. Al Horford (power forward) has not completed a season in full health for a long time now. If he can remain healthy, it will go a long way towards making Atlanta a favorite to lead the Eastern Conference in the regular season and win the Eastern Conference championship. Of concern is Jeff Teague who suffered a season ending injury in the playoff series against Cleveland. Can he return healthy and will he remain healthy? There is no doubt that Atlanta is a very talented team when their players are healthy; however, it is not safe to rely on it. Consequently, fans should expect Atlanta to remain in the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, but should not get their hopes up too high about a playoff run.
Graphic via thehoopdoctors