A year later, the Hawks are only pretty good

Crowned by the Kings. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

Crowned by the Kings. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

The good news is that Atlanta Hawks lead the Southeast Division. The less-good news is that it’s the only NBA division they’d lead. They’re on pace to win 48.45 games — let’s round it up to 49 — which wouldn’t be terrible, either. But they, as we know, won 60 last season.

This time a year ago, the Hawks were 36-8, about to complete their unbeaten January. They were never going to go 17-0 in a month again, but this January has been tepid. They’re 5-5 having played one game against a team currently above .500. (They won the one, thumping the Bulls.) They lost last night in Sacramento, which can happen: It was the second game of a Western back-to-back. Still, the way in which it happened made you wonder, not for the first time, about these Hawks.

Paul Millsap and Al Horford: Still really good. DeMarre Carroll: Still gone to Toronto. Kyle Korver: Not as good and, at 34, won’t be again. As for Jeff Teague …

His points are down by 1.4 per game. Assists are down by 1.5. Shooting percentage has slipped from 46.0 to 41.5. If you’re into advanced analytics, his PER is 16.62, down from 20.64 last season and his lowest rating since 2011-2012, his first season as a starter.

Teague was an All-Star last year. Against Sacramento, he didn’t play over the final 18:48 as Mike Budenholzer chose to deploy a lineup without a point guard. (Indeed, the formerly forgotten Tim Hardaway Jr. acted as distributor.) For a deeper statistical look, here’s a post from Michael Dunlap of Hoops Habit entitled — spoiler alert — “Jeff Teague Has Regressed To Ordinary.”

The Hawks miss Carroll. (At the moment, so do the Raptors; he’s recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.) Tiago Splitter has been of marginal use. (The Hawks rank last among NBA teams in rebound percentage and differential.) Hardaway has worked only 185 minutes, with 141 of those coming this month. They aren’t the team they were this time a year ago, but that should come as no surprise.

Here’s the thing, though: They weren’t the team of January 2015 in April or May of last year, either. They were pressed by sub-.500 Brooklyn in Round 1, were lucky to beat gimpy Washington in Round 2 and were swept by Cleveland without Kevin Love in the Eastern Conference finals. But it was those Cavaliers who showed that, if you’re resourceful enough, you can remake your team in midseason.

The post-Ferry personnel decisions of Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox have been uninspiring. A deft move now could change everything. The trade deadline is Feb. 18.

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
Happy_Smith
Happy_Smith

Hey Mark...  I'm thinking it must be the spiffy new Chartreuse Green Uniforms?


Go back to the Classic look and all is well!  Also, Look up Tree Rollins and ask him if his roots are showing!!  :)

LarvellBlanks
LarvellBlanks

"The post-Ferry personnel decisions of Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox have been uninspiring."


Yeah, but at least we're PC now, and that's the important thing!

ProudtobefrmthaG
ProudtobefrmthaG

Why is this a surprise. They were never title contenders lol. And Jeff Teague is what he is, mediocre like Atlanta sports

DawgNole
DawgNole

"A year later, the Hawks are only pretty good"

____________________

Not so sure you can legitimately make that claim in light of their last two games.

ATLSports
ATLSports

Korver should play 20 minutes off the bench.  He isn't a 30+ minute player anymore.  Against the opponent's second unit he'd probably get as many shots as he does starting and they'd be better quality.  Bud needs to find Mike Scott more minutes as well as Shane Mack.  Mack is a lot steadier than the helter-skelter Schroder and is often more effective than the disinterested Teague. 

Cardfans
Cardfans

Should've gone in a different direction and signed Monroe to help with the inside game.  Splitter was never going to be the answer.  Ferry should've been allowed to publicly apologize in a press conference, take the heat, and remain at his post.  Amazing to me that he's out of a job while Dimitroff will be back for Falcons.

DickSterr
DickSterr

I think that Kyle Korver deservers to be Booed for his lackluster shooting this yr -- he is a BUMB in plain English

DawgNole
DawgNole

@VeryDisgusted 

No such thing as a "bumb"--even in plain English.

You should be "VeryDisgusted" with your own ignorance.

DickSterr
DickSterr

Why does Tiago Splitter have a job in the NBA -- he is more useless than Jon Koncack and Priest Lauderdale were

DickSterr
DickSterr

I understood the backlash over Levinson's comments but the only thing Danny Ferry was guilty of was not proofreading a scouting report that some racist scout wrote. 


The best thing that  came of it all is the Bruce Levinson is out of the ATL sports scene.  Ferry's apology should have been accepted and we all could have moved on but it does not work that way.  What Levinson did is what was unforgivable.  This new ownership needs to do something big -- like bring in Dwight Howard -- the rumor of Teague and Splitter for Howard sounds great if Hou will do it -.  Splitter is useless.  Imagine the front court of Howard, MIlsap and Horford -- and let Dennis be the FT point guard -- that will give us a chance anyway


DawgNole
DawgNole

@VeryDisgusted: ". . . the rumor of Teague and Splitter for Howard sounds great if Hou will do it -.  Splitter is useless."

___________________

So if Splitter is "useless," why would Houston make such a dumb trade?

Hello?

ErvinOliver
ErvinOliver


@VeryDisgusted  True story, I actually considered what Levinson the lesser of the two. Levenson's conclusion was dumb, but market research based on race and demographics is pretty standard.


Ferry's behavior was ill advised, particularly in light of the Sterling fiasco. He'll get another chance, but the stench of that incident couldn't remain through an ownership change.

SideNOTE: This is still Ferry's flawed roster. Don't let a single 62 day span alter the fact that this roster has been flawed from the start.


WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

As usual Mark, right on target. Ferry being gone really hurts, the draft and the trades last year netting Hardaway light was just beyond belief. Even NY did that one on the first phone call. Carroll was the best player in the playoffs and possibly all year. Washington would have beaten us easily had Wall not gotten hurt.

Giving the GM job to what a second year HC that had no HC coaching experience and no GM experience is just asking for problems. Bud is a helluva a coach but that is a massive overreach and it surfaced in last year's draft. Reminds me of another Atlanta HC - Quinn. Good HC (I think) but ready to run the whole franchise..............come on man!!

How do the people that make this much money make these decisions is beyond me. 

vpdii
vpdii

I am sick of hearing about Danny Ferry, He has no one to blame but himself for the fiasco that took place with him getting canned, For all the people who are crying about Ferry, how about looking at the person running the show now, Coach Bud is nothing more than another Lenny Wilkins who thinks that his "system" will produce better results than a marquee player. Ferry is gone, if we wanted another GM who modeled their assessment of talent after him, then maybe we should not have given the keys to the kingdom to Coach Bud.

DewayneDixon
DewayneDixon

The team is stale, and they vastly overachieved last year with most of the starters having career years! They do need a floor general who can control the game in crunch time! Korver needs to come off the bench and let THjr have more time! I'd love to see them make a trade move and try to ungrade their rebounding woes! This team has too many PFs who can't rebound consistently! This team reminds me at times of Billy King's theory of swing players.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DewayneDixon 

"Ungrade" their rebounding woes???

You might have to decipher that one for us.

dirtybird33
dirtybird33

Congratulations Dominique! This is the team you built when you ran Danny Ferry out of town of a silly made up racial issue. And, oh yeah, he didn't think you were worthy of having a statue outside of the arena along with 97% of NBA fans in Atlanta. This is exactly what they deserve. They will never, never, ever be a threat to come out of the East. NEVER as long as they let the racist D. Wilkins call the shots. Pathetic....

DawgNole
DawgNole

@dadofseven

And, incredibly, he's even worse at calling games than he is at calling the shots.

HistoryofMatt
HistoryofMatt

Firing Danny Ferry and sacrificing him on the Altar of B.S. Progressive SJW's and handing over the entire operation to a good coach (but pretty obviously a bad personnel guy giving his trading of a decent draft pick for Hardaway, Jr.) sealed this team's fate.


Unless the Hawks can find a GM with the kind of imagination and smarts that Ferry possess, they are going nowhere, fast.


And for God sakes, get rid of those horrid uniforms!!!

slydawg
slydawg

It's simple really.... There is no on court leader who will hold the others accountable night in and night out. The thing about Hordord, Mislap, and Carroll is they are followers, not leaders. And I mean that in a very analytical way. The team does not necessarily NEED a superstar, but someone willing to put them on their back when things go south. Hordord and Milsap do it sometimes, but it's not within their personality.

Also, Korver should have been benched during last year's playoffs and his opportunity to start should not have carried over into this season. He is just a glorified decoy at this point who isn't a threat if he isn't shooting well.

Finally, it is time to trade Horford for some rebounding help. Get something for him because he is not a max player in this league, albeit he is to the Hawks, ala, Joe Johnson.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Got to take Korver out of the starting lineup.  He may be done.

tmndc
tmndc

No faith in this team on any given possession, much less any given night. 


Too many eggs laid, like last night--down 17 points to that team?-- but also the many 30 point losses to teams both good (Spurs x 2, Cavs) and not good (Hornets?!?!). That is not a good sign. 


Refs did not help last night with the reversal on the out of bounds call, especially. That was poor. Alas, should not have been in that place to begin with. So many empty possessions in the last six minutes. 


Hawks as currently constructed are too fragile to mount an earnest challenge in the East, unfortunately. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@tmndc

As "currently" constructed???

How 'bout as constructed for the past half-century?!

rgbutterfly
rgbutterfly

The hawks need a 'refresher.' Someone who can take charge of the team when things breakdown.  The team is too complacent at times and lose focus and games.  They need a player with a "no one can stop me" attitude.  It seems like the hawks are a team of good guys.

moboman
moboman

@rgbutterfly @rgbutterfly  Shroeder tried to be that guy last nite but didn't have it.  He tried to do too much.  Learning process for him.