Atlanta’s 48 wins last season was its third-highest total in the last 18 years. Unfortunately, they came right after the team set a franchise record with 60 the previous season. The decline in the win column and getting bounced from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second straight time forced the Hawks to make some adjustments to their roster that wasn’t able to contend as it was.
The biggest change came in the loss of Al Horford, who departed to Boston as a free agent. The Hawks also broke the logjam at point guard by dealing Jeff Teague to Indiana. Dennis Schroder will now man the point and free agent Dwight Howard will man the paint. These can’t be considered upgrades and after two successful seasons under coach Mike Budenholzer, the Hawks could fall to the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference.
2015-16 Record: 48-34 SU, 42-39-1 ATS, 38-44 O/U
NBA Championship Odds: +5000
Coming off a season in which the Hawks not only reached the Eastern Conference Finals but also set a franchise record with 60 regular season wins, it was going to be difficult for them to live up to the lofty expectations in 2015-16. Atlanta took a step back, notching 48 wins and earning the fourth seed in the playoffs. Both are respectable accomplishments, but the Hawks had their sights set much higher after what they accomplished the year before.
The Hawks extended their streak of playoff appearances to nine straight, but they fell off by 12 wins from the previous season. The Hawks began to question the long-term core of the roster for the first time when they were swept out of the playoffs for a second consecutive year by Eastern Conference champion Cleveland.
The biggest drop was felt on the offensive end of the floor. Teague and Kyle Korver were noticeably less efficient, and combined with slight drops in production from Paul Millsap and Horford, the Hawks offense stumbled. It’s hard to pick on one guy, but Korver’s decline was drastic. He led the NBA in three-point accuracy in 2014-15 dropping in close to half his shots from distance. His accuracy dipped to 43.5 percent and his scoring fell by nearly three points per game.
They Hawks were still a good team, but not historically good like the previous season. The defense played at an elite level, finishing as the second-ranked team in defensive efficiency. But the offensive struggles were enough to keep them from reaching the next level.
The Hawks will have a different look entering the 2016-17 season. After spending the first nine years of his career with the club, Horford opted for free agency and inked a deal with Boston. Teague was dealt to Indiana as part of a three-team trade that netted Taurean Prince. More importantly, the deal allows Schroder to take over at the point. He had some impressive moments last season as the backup. Now he has to take his game to the next level as the starter.
Howard was brought in as a replacement for Horford and the move should create a different offensive look. Howard has aged and injuries have taken a toll on his production, but the fit with Budenholzer’s style could prolong the former All-Star’s career. Howard gives the Hawks an inside presence on both sides of the ball, something the team lacked in previous seasons.
But the loss of Horford can’t be understated. His numbers declined over the past few seasons, but he was an integral part of the team’s success. He did everything the coach asked him to do on both ends of the floor.
It was evident the roster needed to be modified since it couldn’t compete with the Cavaliers in the East. Getting swept in each of the last two postseasons proved that. Howard is a nice piece, but there are questions about his willingness to play a lesser role in Budenholzer’s team-first style. Don’t expect to see the old Dwight Howard, but he can be productive if healthy and motivated.
The Hawks might be a little better this season. A lot depends on how Schroder handles the starting point role and the overall health of Howard. Budenholzer has done more with less during his career and if the new players buy into his style, there’s no reason why the Hawks can’t surprise some people.
|Atlanta Hawks Regular Season Basketball Schedule|
|Tue, Oct 27||Atlanta Hawks vs Detroit||8:00 PM|
|Thu, Oct 29||Atlanta Hawks @ NY Knicks||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Oct 30||Atlanta Hawks vs Charlotte||8:00 PM|
|Sun, Nov 1||Atlanta Hawks @ Charlotte||2:00 PM|
|Tue, Nov 3||Atlanta Hawks @ Miami||7:30 PM|
|Wed, Nov 4||Atlanta Hawks vs Brooklyn||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Nov 6||Atlanta Hawks @ New Orleans||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Nov 7||Atlanta Hawks vs Washington||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Nov 9||Atlanta Hawks vs Minnesota||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Nov 11||Atlanta Hawks vs New Orleans||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Nov 13||Atlanta Hawks @ Boston||7:30 PM|
|Sun, Nov 15||Atlanta Hawks vs Utah||6:00 PM|
|Tue, Nov 17||Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn||7:30 PM|
|Wed, Nov 18||Atlanta Hawks vs Sacramento||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Nov 21||Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland||7:30 PM|
|Tue, Nov 24||Atlanta Hawks vs Boston||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Nov 25||Atlanta Hawks @ Minnesota||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Nov 27||Atlanta Hawks @ Memphis||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Nov 28||Atlanta Hawks @ San Antonio||8:30 PM|
|Mon, Nov 30||Atlanta Hawks vs Oklahoma City||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Dec 2||Atlanta Hawks vs Toronto||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Dec 4||Atlanta Hawks vs Los Angeles||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Dec 9||Atlanta Hawks @ Dallas||9:30 PM|
|Thu, Dec 10||Atlanta Hawks @ Oklahoma City||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Dec 12||Atlanta Hawks vs San Antonio||8:00 PM|
|Mon, Dec 14||Atlanta Hawks vs Miami||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Dec 16||Atlanta Hawks vs Philadelphia||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Dec 18||Atlanta Hawks @ Boston||7:30 PM|
|Sun, Dec 20||Atlanta Hawks @ Orlando||6:00 PM|
|Mon, Dec 21||Atlanta Hawks vs Portland||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Dec 23||Atlanta Hawks vs Detroit||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Dec 26||Atlanta Hawks vs NY Knicks||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Dec 28||Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana||7:00 PM|
|Tue, Dec 29||Atlanta Hawks @ Houston||8:00 PM|
|Sun, Jan 3||Atlanta Hawks @ NY Knicks||3:30 PM|
|Tue, Jan 5||Atlanta Hawks vs NY Knicks||8:00 PM|
|Thu, Jan 7||Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia||7:00 PM|
|Sat, Jan 9||Atlanta Hawks vs Chicago||5:00 PM|
|Wed, Jan 13||Atlanta Hawks @ Charlotte||7:00 PM|
|Fri, Jan 15||Atlanta Hawks @ Milwaukee||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Jan 16||Atlanta Hawks vs Brooklyn||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Jan 18||Atlanta Hawks vs Orlando||5:00 PM|
|Wed, Jan 20||Atlanta Hawks @ Portland||10:30 PM|
|Thu, Jan 21||Atlanta Hawks @ Sacramento||10:00 PM|
|Sat, Jan 23||Atlanta Hawks @ Phoenix||9:00 PM|
|Mon, Jan 25||Atlanta Hawks @ Denver||9:00 PM|
|Wed, Jan 27||Atlanta Hawks vs Los Angeles||8:00 PM|
|Thu, Jan 28||Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana||7:00 PM|
|Sun, Jan 31||Atlanta Hawks @ Miami||6:00 PM|
|Mon, Feb 1||Atlanta Hawks vs Dallas||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Feb 3||Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia||7:00 PM|
|Fri, Feb 5||Atlanta Hawks vs Indiana||7:00 PM|
|Sun, Feb 7||Atlanta Hawks @ Orlando||1:00 PM|
|Mon, Feb 8||Atlanta Hawks vs Orlando||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Feb 10||Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Feb 19||Atlanta Hawks vs Miami||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Feb 20||Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Feb 22||Atlanta Hawks vs Golden State||8:00 PM|
|Fri, Feb 26||Atlanta Hawks vs Chicago||8:00 PM|
|Sun, Feb 28||Atlanta Hawks vs Charlotte||3:30 PM|
|Tue, Mar 1||Atlanta Hawks @ Golden State||10:30 PM|
|Fri, Mar 4||Atlanta Hawks @ Los Angeles||10:30 PM|
|Sat, Mar 5||Atlanta Hawks @ Los Angeles||10:30 PM|
|Tue, Mar 8||Atlanta Hawks @ Utah||9:00 PM|
|Thu, Mar 10||Atlanta Hawks @ Toronto||7:30 PM|
|Sat, Mar 12||Atlanta Hawks vs Memphis||7:30 PM|
|Sun, Mar 13||Atlanta Hawks vs Indiana||6:00 PM|
|Wed, Mar 16||Atlanta Hawks @ Detroit||7:30 PM|
|Thu, Mar 17||Atlanta Hawks vs Denver||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Mar 19||Atlanta Hawks vs Houston||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Mar 21||Atlanta Hawks vs Washington||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Mar 23||Atlanta Hawks @ Washington||7:00 PM|
|Fri, Mar 25||Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Mar 26||Atlanta Hawks @ Detroit||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Mar 28||Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago||8:00 PM|
|Wed, Mar 30||Atlanta Hawks @ Toronto||7:30 PM|
|Fri, Apr 1||Atlanta Hawks vs Cleveland||8:00 PM|
|Tue, Apr 5||Atlanta Hawks vs Phoenix||8:00 PM|
|Thu, Apr 7||Atlanta Hawks vs Toronto||8:00 PM|
|Sat, Apr 9||Atlanta Hawks vs Boston||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Apr 11||Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland||7:00 PM|
|Wed, Apr 13||Atlanta Hawks @ Washington||8:00 PM|
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