Offseason grades: Hawks

Offseason grades: Hawks
September 15, 2013, 11:30 pm
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Recently we have looked at a few grades various sites have handed out to the Wizards. Of course, context is everything. In other words, how are the other teams in the Southeast Division shaping up?

NBA.com assessed the Wizards' as a B-minus --more on that with a longer look at Randy Wittman's coaching here. As for everyone else, Atlanta now, Charlotte, Miami and Orlando later...

Hawks, C-plus: The rather middling grade seemingly has more to do with Atlanta not clearing the high bar in free agency - whiffing on Chris Paul and Dwight Howard - and the franchises limited big ticket options going forward then where Al Horford and company finish this upcoming season. For now, the Hawks are part of the potential playoff mix battling for the final three spots, a group that the Wizards, Pistons, Cavaliers, Celtics and Bucks.

At a basic level, Atlanta might have simply pushed this offseason. Paul Millsap's interior brawn is less flashy than what ex-Hawk turned Piston Josh Smith provided on both ends of the court, but it's also far more consistent. Horford is still out of position at center, but now he has a legitimate power presence helping. 

As for the backcourt, the overall grade, a "C." The assessment reads like this:

"Jeff Teague and John Jenkins will not strike fear in the opposition. A healthy Lou Williams will bolster this group's bottom line, but depth is an issue. Rookie point Dennis Schroeder offers some intrigue; he's a prospect who could outperform his Draft slot."

Last season, Atlanta took three of the four meetings from the Wizards. Could that happen again, sure. Any given night, yada, yada. The reality is whatever pro-Wizards arguments can be made --better backcourt and oddly, more stability - are offset by the fact that predicting anything out the Hawks right now is a guess. With a new coach, new pieces and a significant loss in Smith, Atlanta's range is anywhere from contending with the Knicks for the fifth seed to combusting into a lottery-level team. Washington fans will get their first head-to-head look on November 30 at the Verizon Center.