Last season was a historic one for the Atlanta Hawks that practically nobody in the NBA circles right now believes they can do it one more time. A franchise-best record 60-22 was set, they were the first team to go undefeated for a whole calendar month (17-0 in January 2015), and could have shoot down for the best overall record in the NBA if not for Mike Budenholzer being under the Popovich influence.
Having said that, like San Antonio, the Hawks has a really solid core worthy of roster spots. You can think of their starters (minus DeMarre Carroll who signed with Toronto for $60M over four years), first man off the bench, and maybe one or two more down the line.
Very worthy to note, Atlanta was one of the league leaders in assists (2nd), FG% (4th), 3P made/attempts (5th and 7th), and steals (5th) last season.
Breakout Candidate: Dennis Schroder
As mentioned in the outset, Carroll bolted north in search of a big payday so someone was bound to get the minutes allocated for the hard-nosed forward.
Thabo Sefolosha should get the starting nod but he isn’t a big-time stat-stuffer; Kent Bazemore and Tim Hardaway, Jr. will get some serious run and are worth monitoring especially Bazemore’s multi-category potential. But talking about the comfort level and experience within the system, I’m rolling the dice on Dennis Schroder.
Schroder’s per-36 minute numbers are drooling: 18.2 points, 7.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds with a three-pointer and a steal an outing. Crossing my fingers, the German could be a real fantasy star in 2016.
Bust Candidate: Jeff Teague
Bottom line: Teague is NOT worth a low third round/high fourth round pick. Sure, he’s a pretty good pick and you’ll definitely be reaping the benefits of 16 points and 7 assists a night but Teague lacks the fantasy impact that many of his colleagues (Jrue Holiday and Reggie Jackson, for example) could potentially give.
Deep-League Sleeper: Tiago Splitter
Splitter could very well rank among the most underrated acquisitions in the offseason because he definitely is what Atlanta needs. The Brazilian big man makes a very intriguing three-big rotation with Al Horford and Paul Millsap, perhaps even starting when one of the All-Star frontcourt takes the day off or is hurt.
In just under 20 minutes with the Spurs last season, Tiago is good for 8.2 points, 5 rebounds, a combined 1.4 steals and blocks, with one and a half assists.
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