The Hawks parted ways with Paul Millsap, Tim Hardaway, Dwight Howard and Thabo Sefolosha over the summer. Late last season they traded Kyle Korver to Cleveland. Those five departed players were responsible for 48.9% of Atlanta's offense.
These aren't your older brother's Hawks. Mike Budenholzer's whip-the-ball-around, shoot-the-three offense will be harder to run this season, and the coach's offensive expertise will really be put to the test now that he has to rely on Ersan Ilyasova and Taurean Prince.
Millsap's departure will hurt the most. His two-way game covered up a lot of Atlanta's deficiencies, and switching to Ilyasova—a fine shooter, a willing charge-taker and not much else—is a massive downgrade.
Three years ago the Hawks sent four of their starters to the All-Star Game. Now it's hard to see how this team can keep up with the top half of the conference. After years and years of being a perennial playoff participant—but hardly anything more—the franchise is easing itself into what will soon be a much-needed rebuild.
COACH MIKE BUDENHOLZER
(5th season with Hawks)
2016--17 RECORD 43--39
(2nd in Southeast)
76 [THE CROSSOVER TOP 100 RANKING]
PG DENNIS SCHRÖDER
17.9 PPG; 6.3 APG; 45.1 FG%; 34.0 3FG%
SG KENT BAZEMORE
11.0 PPG; 3.2 RPG; 40.9 FG%; 34.6 3FG%
SF TAUREAN PRINCE
5.7 PPG; 2.7 RPG; 40.0 FG%; 32.4 3FG%
PF ERSAN ILYASOVA
13.1 PPG; 5.9 RPG; 43.1 FG%; 35.3 3FG%
C DEWAYNE DEDMON [NEW ACQUISITION]
5.1 PPG; 6.5 RPG; 0.8 BPG; 62.2 FG%
SG MARCO BELINELLI [NEW ACQUISITION]
10.5 PPG; 2.4 RPG; 42.9 FG%; 36.0 3FG%
PG MALCOLM DELANEY
5.4 PPG; 2.6 APG; 37.4 FG%; 23.6 3FG%
PF LUKE BABBITT [NEW ACQUISITION]
4.8 PPG; 2.1 RPG; 40.2 FG%; 41.4 3FG%
• THE CROSSOVER TOP 100 RANKING
A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP ATLANTA
Looking at their roster, I'm wondering, Can we please play them six times this year? Wow, man. DENNIS SCHRÖDER is your best player. He played really well at Eurobasket, but man. I'm glad I'm not a season-ticket holder there.... When you [lose] the locker room presence and solid foundational pieces like Al Horford and Paul Millsap, it almost creates a vacuum.... How quickly can we figure out if DEANDRE' BEMBRY is a starting two guard? How quickly can we get JOHN COLLINS going? This team could be in for a long season.... I think KENT BAZEMORE is a bench guy, but on this team he's going to have to average 14 or 15 field goal attempts per game. I just don't think he's a natural offensive guy. He's always been a really good defender, but he's making $16.9 million this season and last year shot 41% from the field. Geez.... If you're a really good team, I don't know that TAUREAN PRINCE is playing more than 18 minutes a game for you. There's nothing to really sink your teeth into with his game.... Atlanta's centers are just all different looks. MIKE MUSCALA is a finesse player who has kind of grown into the position, but there's not much physicality to him. DEWAYNE DEDMON can rebound, block shots and play defense. If you could [combine] the three different centers they have there, you'd have a really good player. You could take Dedmon's defense and Muscala's footwork, and you could use MILES PLUMLEE's face-up shooting. But individually, none of those three are really bona fide starter material.
TELLING 48.9 STATISTIC
It was a good decade, but Atlanta's run of 10 straight seasons with a playoff berth is coming to an end.