The Atlanta Hawks isn’t quite rebuilding (re-tooling may be a better word) but they look different from last year. Two of its five starters are gone though they retained most of their bench from last season.
Speaking of gone, fan favorite Al Horford is no longer here. Hometown boy Dwight Howard takes his place while the keys to the team’s future was handed over to Dennis Schroder as they traded Jeff Teague to Indiana. It remains to be seen how the pieces fit for Mike Budenholzer but since Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, Kent Bazemore, and even Schroder are already familiar with the system, the Hawks should still have the stability needed while integrating Howard into their scheme of things.
It’s hard to see them be better than the 60-win team from two seasons ago, but if Schroder progresses into a nice upper-tier fantasy point guard (and they keep D12 happy), the Hawks are still going to be a pretty good team in reality and fantasy.
Bust or Bounce Back?
In all honesty, I believe Dwight Howard is going to have his best season in years. Maybe not Orlando Dwight, but the Lakers Dwight that averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds along with 2.4 blocks and 1 steal is not out of the equation. He won’t be seeing Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins four times a year and that should help. Being a hometown boy amidst fans’ mediocre expectations will certainly lessen the pressure for Howard as well.
The Hawks employs a ball-moving offense that involves its five players on the floor so that should also be a positive for D12, who looked disengaged with all the Rockets’ Harden-centric offense. Howard may never develop, or at least be comfortable, doing drop-steps and reverse pivots in the low post but a team that makes it a point to incorporate everyone in the offensive end of the floor should be enough to rejuvenate the 8-time NBA All-Star.
Jack played only 32 games because of a torn ACL and was waived by the Brooklyn Nets at the end of June 2016. Before sustaining the injury, Jack was on pace to average career-highs in assists, steals, rebounds, and FT%. Jack may never have a full-time starting job ever again but as Schroder experience growing pains playing starting point, I’m pretty sure coach Bud won’t hesitate to plug in the 10-year veteran at any point in the game.
Of course, in time, Jack will settle in as the team’s sixth man and it would be best to monitor his minutes and production. He may not warrant a spot in 10-team tournaments but should inspire consideration in deeper leagues where he could be an undervalued contributor in assists and FT% with possible dual eligibility (PG, SG).