2016-17 in review: 43-39, 5th in the East. Lost to the Washington Wizards 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.
Key Offseason Acquisitions: SG Marco Belinelli, C Miles Plumlee, C Dewayne Dedmon, PF John Collins
2017-18 Season Outlook: Things don’t look too good for the Atlanta Hawks right now, and they are expected to miss the playoffs for the first time in 10 years as a result. The Hawks failed to retain three of their key players from the previous season after Paul Millsap signed with the Denver Nuggets without an offer from the Hawks, Tim Hardaway, Jr. returned to the New York Knicks after the Hawks declined to match their offer, and Dwight Howard was traded to the Charlotte Hornets. As a result, the Hawks have lost a large chunk of their offense and versatility. Millsap is a very consistent and reliable player, while Howard offered some rim protection in addition to having one of his best offensive seasons in recent years, and Hardaway is certainly on an upward trajectory as a developing shooting guard.
— Aaliyah Denise (@aaliyahdenise35) July 7, 2017
Unfortunately, the Hawks don’t seem to have gotten much in the way of returns to replace what they lost. Therefore, they will likely be relying on continuing to develop their young talent. Point guard Dennis Schröder has shown noticeable improvement each year, and if he continues his upward trend, he could potentially be looking at his first All-Star year, especially in a seemingly weaker Eastern conference. Small forward Kent Bazemore has developed into a key defensive player with some offensive talent, albeit somewhat unreliable.
In addition to these players, the Hawks will likely be looking at furthering the development of their younger players in second year small forward Taurean Prince and rookie power forward John Collins. Prince has value with his size and athleticism, though he struggled with consistency in his rookie campaign. The 6-foot-10 Collins shows promise, having been drafted 19th overall after averaging 19.2 points and 9.8 for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Depending on their development, both could potentially be key pieces off the bench for the future of this rebuilding Hawks team.
— NBA UK (@NBAUK) July 13, 2017
Fans also shouldn’t forget that Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer has a tendency to really get the most out of players. The Hawks system under coach Budenholzer has produced impressive results in the past, and despite the outlook being somewhat grim, the Hawks could still end up surprising some teams if they aren’t careful. Still, it’s clear that there isn’t much expected out of this Hawks team for the 2017-18 season, especially given that the team currently only has two scheduled national television games all season – none of which are scheduled for ESPN, ABC, or TNT.
Projected Strengths: Athleticism, youth, 3-point shooting
Projected Weaknesses: Inexperience, scoring ability
Projected win total: Around 30 wins