By: Lucas Kochevar
I am back! I am able to post more and I figured why not do a Hawks article, since I missed an article for after the season. In this article, I will be giving four off-season needs for the Hawks that will actually help them become a legitimate team, instead of a mediocre team that gets beat first round every year.
1. Re-Sign Paul Millsap, Tim Hardaway Jr. for the right price
The first priority of the Hawks should be geared towards their best player, Paul Millsap, and their very own 'Hawks University' graduate, Tim Hardaway Jr. These two players were vital to the Hawks last season, as they probably would have lost several more games without the likes of these players. They need Paul Millsap to stay with the team, as the four-time all-star, has been the anchor of the team. The problem with Millsap is that he is in his 30's and if you gave him the max deal he will be earning over 20 million when he is 36 which is ridiculous to pay a player that much at that age and then it would provide very little flexibilty to the Hawks. The problem with THJ is that you don't want a repeat contract that you had with Bazemore and have him under achieve. The Hawks will need these players if they still want to compete but it will need to be for the right price.
2. Trade Dwight Howard for anything
The Hawks decision to sign Dwight Howard was pictured to be a very questionable decision at the time and many people were very positive for the move in the fact that Dwight would feel more helpful with a stable coach and his return to Atlanta. Instead he came in and had solid production but he did not do enough to live up to his contract. He ruined the flow of the offense and he had incidents that made him a distraction and he did similar things that made him hated on other teams. He seemed to become a road block for the offense. If you even look at the stats he made the offense worse when he was on the floor and the defense was about the same when he was off the floor. I thought he was solid until the playoffs came and noticed more and more how Dwight was more of a problem than he was helpful. He never helped step up on screens and his transition defense hurt the Hawks. His offense activity was very little as he was rarely given the ball in the post and it did not matter because he is not a good post player at all. The problem with Dwight is that he has very little trade value and Kevin Arnovitz from ESPN confirmed this by saying that his value was around a high second round pick.
3. Draft another Wing player, PF/C, and a Back-up PG
Atlanta holds three picks with the 19th, 31st (via Nets), and the 60th pick (via GSW). The Hawks are in a tricky position as they need just about every position except a starting PG. The Hawks need a wing player as THJ, Mike Dunleavy Jr, and Thabo Sefolosha are all FA's and the Hawks do have Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore, Deandre Bembry. With the uncertainty of any FAs coming back, Bazemore's struggles last season, and two young wings, it will not hurt the Hawks to pick up one more high upside wing or a player like a Luke Kennard from Duke. The Hawks could go with a big man with Paul Millsap possibly leaving along with Mike Muscala. Also with the age of Millsap and Howard, a big man could be very beneficial as there are a lot of very solid guys coming from overseas. The Hawks could take some notable players from college like the names of Ryan Leaf, UCLA, Caleb Swanigan, Purdue, or Ivan Rabb, Cal. These players are most likely project players as they are going this late in the draft but they could provide help down the road. The back-up PG is a need as Malcom Delaney and Jose Calderon are not very good options in the future. A back-up PG would be ideal at the 60th overall pick.
4. Find the right GM
Atlanta decided that they needed a change in the front office as Wes Wilcox was just not doing a great job. Mike Budenholzer also got his President of Basketball Operations title taken away. A good thing is that it sounds as if both of them were open to the idea of this. The Hawks need a GM as soon as possible as the draft is coming up soon and the best situation is for the GM to like the prospect your team might be looking for. The GM role is very vital to the running of the team and the best realationship is the one between a GM and a coach. This needs to be established early as big periods of the off-season is coming up. The rumored people to look for the position is Cavs GM David Griffin and Thunder Asst. GM Troy Weaver, my hopeful for the job. The Hawks will likely need an aggressive GM as they need a direction with this team and an aggressive GM will help with that and can hopefully convince others to take off pieces like Dwight Howard or even trade for a superstar like the team has wanted to do for several years. An aggressive GM will likely do a great job in negotiations. The Hawks need to find someone quick but they need to be smart in the process so they do not hire bad type of GM. A General Manager will be very needed for this Hawks team in a very crucial off-season.
That is the four needs of the off-season as The Hawks will have one of the most interesting off-seasons in quite sometime. Lets hope the Hawks can do this right and get a good team together. It feels good to finally be back to write articles again and I hope to write some more articles this summer and record more podcasts.