When I was in college, a buddy of mine would always talk about Freaknik. A party/musical festival down in Atlanta that truly put the H.O.T. in Hotlanta. Dancing. Drinking. Partying. Music. Hoops. I was intrigued, especially since I had never been to the South. I never made it, though, then…POOF. It was gone. Maybe it’s something about Atlanta, but that’s been my experience with the Hawks. The team has made the playoffs for 10 consecutive years and I’ve been intrigued at times, but I always overlooked them. Well, I won’t have to worry about that now because…POOF. The team is rebuilding and will most probably be bad. At least there are some young exciting pieces which should, at least, make them an interesting watch.
2016 record: 43-39
- John Collins via draft
- Dewayne Dedmon via free agency
- Marco Belinelli via trade
- Miles Plumlee via trade
- Dwight Howard via trade
- Mike Dunleavy waived
- Thabo Sefolosha via free agency
- Paul Millsap via free agency
- Tim Hardaway Jr. via free agency
- Jose Calderon via free agency
- Kris Humphires via free agency
That string of 10 consecutive playoff appearances I mentioned in the opening? POOF. This team is going to be bad. With that said, there are some young, exciting players that will be fun to watch and could become fantasy relevant, especially toward the later stages of the season.
PG – Dennis Schroder is the starter and will probably be the main guy for the Hawks this season. His usage rate has been in the 27-28% range the past three years. It wouldn’t shock me if that number gets into the 30s. The turnovers are always a concern, but assists are a valuable commodity, and he should provide around six per game. He shoots a decent percentage from three-land, a very high percentage from the charity stripe, will pull down a few boards, get a steal, and has the potential to score close to 20 a game. Malcolm Delaney is the backup. If people start taking about Delaney, then something has gone terribly wrong in Atlanta.
SG – This is an interesting position from a fantasy perspective. Kent Bazemore and Marco Belinelli are both good players and have a similar skill set, as they are both three-point specialists. Now, Bazemore signed a four-year, $70 million contract last year, so you could follow the money, but….there’s always a but. Belinelli was acquired in the trade for Dwight Howard. There’s a good chance they could both cannibalize each other’s fantasy value, as both will probably play around 24 mpg.
SF – Taurean Prince is slated to start. The mini-Predator is one of those young, exciting players I mentioned earlier. He’s 6′ 8″ 220 pounds, only 23 years old, and super athletic. He should be able to contribute across the whole stat spectrum. DeAndre Bembry is 6′ 6″ 210 pounds, only 23 years old, and super athletic as well. He’s more slasher than shooter, though. Bembry did suffer a triceps injury in early September and will miss 4-6 weeks. His availability for opening night is in question. Nicolas Brussino is another 23-year-old and played for Dallas last season. He was claimed off waivers by the Hawks. He looks to be a pure depth signing. As I said with Delaney, if Brussino is getting talked about then something has gone terribly wrong.
PF – Ersan Ilyasova was re-signed for one-year, $6 million. Ilyasova is a nice player, especially since he’ll grab some boards and spread the floor with his three-point prowess. With that said, I’m all about John Collins. My love knows no bounds when it comes to Collins. He probably won’t contribute in 3s, but he does have a nice mid-range game and will collect boards and blocks due to his crazy athleticism. Oh, he’ll be on Sportscenter plenty as well. On a side note, if a player has a highlight on Sportscenter but no one is watching, did said highlight actually happen? As the season goes on, Collins is going to soak up more and more minutes. Really, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens sooner rather than later.
C – Dewayne Dedmon will start. I really like Dedmon and am excited to see what he can do with an increase in minutes. He’s going to shoot a super-high percentage from the field, grab a ton of boards, and block shots. His percentage from the charity stripe is decent as well. For a big man (7′ 0″ 245 pounds), he moves very well. With all that said, he’s 28 years old and has never received more than 17 mpg. There’s gotta be some reason for that, right? We shall see. All I’m saying is that there is some unknown here. Mike Muscala and Miles Plumlee will back up Dedmon. Don’t dismiss Muscala from getting some minutes, as he has the ability to shoot the 3. Miles Plumlee was arrested for marijuana possession in late-August. He’s also the worst Plumlee brother. He should have plenty of time puff and watch Dude, Where’s My Car at home.