Atlanta Hawks: Brighter future for Hawks in ESPN.com rankings

In a few short weeks the Hawks transitioned from a good-but-not-great team with no financial flexibility to a franchise that can clear gops of cap space and has a long-term plan.

No surprise, then, that the Hawks moved up in Chad Ford and John Hollinger’s latest future power rankings at ESPN.com (Insider). The rankings are Ford and Hollinger’s attempt to project the on-court success for the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

The Hawks improved from No. 19 to No. 15 largely on the strength of their dramatically improved salary-cap situation. That development moved Atlanta’s “money” ranking (worth as much as 200 points) from No. 26th to No.1 Ford and Hollinger noted this “25-place jump was the largest of any team in any category.”

That was offset by Atlanta’s league-high drop in the “players” ranking (600 points), down to 23rd from 12th. Ford and Hollinger dock the Hawks not just for the talent disparity in the Joe Johnson deal but also because Josh Smith is in the last year of his contract. The authors opine that “[Al] Horford is the only key player who is both signed [long term] and guaranteed to make an impact.”

The Hawks rank No. 13 in the “management” category (200 points), up from No. 17 in the previous rankings. Ford and Hollinger give Danny Ferry high marks for both his tenure as Cleveland GM and his initial moves with the Hawks.

Atlanta ranks No. 14 in the “market” category (100 points), up one spot. The considerations: “Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city’s desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans.”

Finally, Ford and Hollinger place the Hawks No. 13 in the “draft” rankings (100 points), up from No. 19. That’s based on future draft picks and draft positioning.

The teams ranked ahead of the Hawks in the overall rankings, in order: Heat, Thunder, Lakers, Jazz, Pacers, Mavericks, Nuggets, Bulls, Spurs, Celtics, Hornets, Cavaliers, Rockets, Nets.

(Note to blog people: Please respect the paywall and refrain from reproducing substantial portions of the ESPN.com link.)

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat
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464 comments Add your comment

Najeh Davenpoop

August 17th, 2012
3:04 pm

23rd in players… so I guess they see the Hawks firmly entrenched in the lottery this season.

Then again, Hollinger picked the Hawks to miss the playoffs last season too.

BigDawg

August 17th, 2012
3:20 pm

At least glad they are changing directions, go Danny!

Priest Lauderdale

August 17th, 2012
3:27 pm

BrittishAnger

August 17th, 2012
3:31 pm

Hollinger holds no worth to me as a fan….He’s two faced and just another wolf in analyst’s clothing…

steven a smith

August 17th, 2012
3:31 pm

Anxious to see what the final roster will look like. Also curious about who will receive camp invites.

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2012
3:39 pm

FTPB, Kevin, good stuff with those old school centers/coaches. Point remains, if any bench guard can get a coaching gig (see Jacque Vaughan and Scott Brooks) then why no love for Sean Rooks or Eric Montross? :lol:

O'Brien

August 17th, 2012
3:48 pm

FTPB,

Ken S,

Horford’s FG% has has been good so far, despite the increase in FGA at times. But the reason why I think it will decrease going forward is because he will not be the clear cut 4th option that he was when we had JJ, Josh, and Jamal.

And because his offensive responsibility will increase, I think teams will be quicker to focus on him defensively more than they used to (for example, they will play him closer to take away some of his open jumpers if he is shooting well).

However, I think his assists per game may go up.

O'Brien

August 17th, 2012
3:49 pm

AJ,

Tyron Lue will soon be next in-line for a coaching gig, as he earns his stripes behind the Celtics bench.

Echevarria

August 17th, 2012
3:58 pm

27th in players? Well hell, we better be getting a great draft pick based on his projections.

With that being said, that is a stupid idea to think our team is the 27th worst team, player wise, in the league. We’re probably nowhere lower than the 18th worst team. We will be battling for a 6-8 seed in the East, easily.

You 2 Brutus

August 17th, 2012
4:00 pm

Al Horford Haters just go away.

MsDee

August 17th, 2012
4:04 pm

Ken S,

U are so on point when it comes to Horford. I too dont understand the hate on Horford. He is truly a very smart b-ball player with an excellent b-ball IQ. He was forced to be 3rd/4th options on the team with players like JJ and Josh on his team, but with JJ gone and hopefully a new SMART offensive-minded coach hopefully joining the Hawks coaching staff after Drew exits,(Jerry Sloan), we would then FINALLY see Horford PPG average go from 15.5% to 25.5%!! COUNT ON IT!!

We SHOULD actually see his average go far up this season with Josh, being the excellent passer he is, feed Horford more passes than a mother feeds her newborn baby!!

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:05 pm

OB, yep. And Brian Shaw, Mario Elie, Elston Turner, Lindsey Hunter, etc. I just want to see someone like Felton Spencer or Jim McIlwaine get their shot. :twisted:

I wonder who will be the first foreign-born player to land a head coahcing gig in the NBA? Like, what if Ginobli or Barbosa or Zaza decide to get into coaching in the NBA… imagine the challenges those guys will face (regardless of their qualifications).

Pape Sy for Hawks Head Coach in 2019!!!

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:07 pm

Maybe we can add Yinka Dare to the Hawks coaching staff.

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
4:22 pm

yinka dare passed away years ago

slimjr, can u give me reason or reasons why u r so down on al horford?we all know what he is as a player a third option but u make fun of his all star selections. what gives with u with him?u can just give me concrete reasons why u dont like him as a player. no one is saying he is great but horford can play.

NCBravesFan

August 17th, 2012
4:25 pm

As I read MC’s post, the “players” category is not an absolute measure of the quality of players per se, but the quality of players under long-term team control. But I don’t have access to the article so I may be wrong.

Just Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:26 pm

The player ranking is based on the players you have for the next 3 years not 12/13. Hawks don’t have many players under contract after this year.

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:28 pm

brigadierjerry, oops, sorry to hear that and sorry that I used him in the joke.

I should have gone with Caldwell Jones.

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:31 pm

Yeah, the “future” player ranking is essentially looking at Horford, Jenkins and Lou Williams. Given that we have a whopping 3 players signed long-term, kind of makes you wonder about the teams ranked 24-30, huh?

SteveW

August 17th, 2012
4:34 pm

Well, if we strikeout on CP3, D12, Al Jefferson, and James Harden this offseason, I’m not against signing Taj Gibson to a 10 mill per year contract. That’s 1 dude who plays much bigger than his billed size of 6-9 225.

I know the knock is too many PF’s, but Gibson is a player in my book. Stick him in the low post and watch good things happen.

SteveW

August 17th, 2012
4:40 pm

DF is concerning me when he talks of Kyle Korver and not Anthony Morrow. Morrow is a better NBA player. I’ve just read a couple of interviews where DF does this.

And I’m not sure ATL fans realize just what we’ve got in Lou and Devin. We are about too become one of the most exciting teams in the League. With those two, coupled with Josh and Teague, we will be blindingly fast. I haven’t found a faster NBA roster yet.

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
4:43 pm

watched ewing a lot and he had decent post moves but he was basicaly a jump shooting big man and a nice turnaround shot. very good player and tough. didt have great hands.

slimjr, u still want horford traded for derrick williams?

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
4:46 pm

astro joe,

no need to apologize for that.

SteveW

August 17th, 2012
4:48 pm

And I know it’s all about winning and not excitement – but when it doesn’t look like the talent level is there for a Championship this season, may as well look on the bright side.

Up front the Hawks are loaded with Josh, Al, ZaZa, and Ivan. One of the best frontcourts in our history. We’re even tough with Zaza and Ivan as the new McNasty Brothers.

And Lou, Teague, Devin, and Morrow is one of the best backcourts the Hawks have had.

And with Jordan Jenkins and Johan Petrol behind them, pretty deep also.

But Korver and Stevenson at the 3 are the weak link on the team. Put a Pietrus maybe at the 3, or somebody better thru trade, and the Hawks would be a problem for most teams in the East.

SteveW

August 17th, 2012
4:52 pm

Any misspellings – blame the iPhone – grrrr

SteveW

August 17th, 2012
5:02 pm

Danny Ainge – That dude is not rebuilding, he’s reloading. Celts are going to be good again.

The Hawks will be blindingly quick, maybe the best Jump shooting team in the NBA (put Horford in with the other good J shooters we have), and be good in the post (and we could discuss caveats there all day, but overall, good).

Just missing the good wing from being a near elite team.

Again, watch Lou, Devin, and Teague in the backcourt. They will shock us not only for speed, but how good they are overall.

Sautee

August 17th, 2012
5:04 pm

“DF is concerning me when he talks of Kyle Korver and not Anthony Morrow”

And do you know whether or not that’s building Korver up for a trade? Don’t take what GMs say during the summer on face value. Ferry may be trying to rope-a-dope some GM.

I’m patient enough to wait until training camp before I’ll fret about SF.

Slimjr

August 17th, 2012
5:06 pm

“That was offset by Atlanta’s league-high drop in the “players” ranking (600 points), down to 23rd from 12th. Ford and Hollinger dock the Hawks not just for the talent disparity in the Joe Johnson deal but also because Josh Smith is in the last year of his contract. The authors opine that “[Al] Horford is the only key player who is both signed [long term] and guaranteed to make an impact.”

Lets hope Al and Josh have good years to [offset] the talent [disparity] as the so called [experts] put it..Lets hope they all stay healthy..Danny needs to find a #3 legitimate scorer to help the guards out.. These scoring droughts must end against the winners..

Anything above a 7th seed will be tremendous this season…. Go Hawks!

hawksfancents95

August 17th, 2012
5:07 pm

Here is a vid featuring some new hawks (devin harris and lou williams) and showing some bad defense by some current hawks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb7BA2XKgHw&feature=related

wow. just, wow. devin harris is going to be awesome off the bench. lou and teague backcourt maybe better than we/I thought.

Slimjr

August 17th, 2012
5:11 pm

Nasty quick this team will be for sure…

Kinda like the old Golden St. Warriors of the East.

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
5:12 pm

does anyone find it strange ivan is still unsigned? does he know he is a free agent? hawks need to get ivan signed, a small forward and a 3rd string backup center and they will be all set. i wont mind benson as a signing.

i think hawks will make move for sf later in the season.

does anyone have the hawk preseason schedule?

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
5:15 pm

slimjr,

do u like henson as a player?he can fill it up?

did u see my other comments i addressed to u?

Slimjr

August 17th, 2012
5:17 pm

bjerry, would not trade Al for Gasol nor Josh for that matter. But very curious how D. Williams game will turn out this year in his 2nd year in the NBA. He has lots of up side and is still very young..Lets wait and see?

random

August 17th, 2012
5:28 pm

Preseason games

October 7 Miami @ Atlanta Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA 2:00PM

October 10 Atlanta @ San Antonio AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX 7:30PM

October 14 Atlanta @ Memphis FedExForum, Memphis, TN 5:00PM

October 16 Atlanta @ Indiana Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN 7:00PM

October 18 New Orleans @ Atlanta Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA 7:30PM

October 20 Dallas @ Atlanta Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA 7:00PM

October 26 Atlanta @ Detroit The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI 7:30PM

Slimjr

August 17th, 2012
5:35 pm

bjerry, I have already stated many times how I see Al’s game and being voted as Allstar..Notice the fans never voted him in there…hmmmmmmmm

Danny will watch him this season and say at the end what do we need to do to advance this squad to the next level. And if Al is the main trading piece to make that happen than so be it. Make it so..

Playing in the weaker[Eastern Conference] should not take Danny very long to figure out what he has to do to make their 1st ECF appearance ever…

And no I did not propose Al playing the #3 spot..That was presented by a highly esteem blogger..

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
5:50 pm

slimjr,

my question is though what specifically dont u like about horfords game?

random,

thanks for the preseason schedule

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
5:53 pm

slimjr,

who do u want as sf?

Slimjr

August 17th, 2012
5:54 pm

“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM641vKWGOo”

He’s okay..Needs to gain a ton of weight to bang with the NBA Bigs for sure!

I like Nicholson better..

Ra'mon

August 17th, 2012
5:55 pm

SteveW, one option of acquiring that wing player is by signing Okur to a one year deal. If you’re able to sign Okur to a deal, then you’re free to trade Zaza for an expiring contract of a wing player to get through this season. I think Zaza would get a very good market return in a trade, especially to a contender.

glw

August 17th, 2012
6:03 pm

@ brigadierjerry

Its not really strange that Ivan isnt signed yet, he is restricted, and since already has the qualifying offer and its less than a million, he is simply holding out to see if another team offers him a bit more if not, am sure he will sign the offer sometime before camp starts. His situation is similar to Alonzo Gee who is still out there. It has been a strange summer for some restricted guys. I mean guys like Landry Fields and Omar Asik and Jeremy Lin get paid, but guys like Ivan, and Gee who are still out there. Plus Jodie Meeks and Courtney Lee who are solid rotational players basically get minimum or lower salaries thant it seems they should get. Product of the new CBA I guess.

Slimjr

August 17th, 2012
6:08 pm

A ton of stuff I dont like about this Allstars game..

I will mention one or two. Has absolutely one of the weakest big man handles in the game[Left hand is almost non existent]. Cannot for the next big check back anyone down and use and up and under move or finger roll. Or stop and pop. Or use glass.Or a jump hook. His post game is brutal..

He lacks fluidity, takes too much time when facing his opponent which allows them to get set to defend him. So he will pass it out like a hot potato..

He essentially has only one offensive move: his patented set shot! You defend that and its game set and match…

He is what he is a 4th or 5th option and not hating…Not that I give a flying ish….

That was the offensive side of the ball..We have not talked defense yet..

I’m out

hawksfancents95

August 17th, 2012
6:11 pm

I thought I was a NBA nerd but John Hollinger and Chad Ford are making me re-think if I want to watch NBA games anymore. How do you compute best place to live and fans enthusiasim? This seems very partial but hey, what isn’t anymore. Ill stick to talking on the AJC about possibilities and player reviews and at home nerd out with my unbeatable fantasy NBA 2K teams I create, hah.

Sautee

August 17th, 2012
6:12 pm

“bjerry, I have already stated many times how I see Al’s game and being voted as Allstar..Notice the fans never voted him in there…hmmmmmmmm” – slimjr

Gee slim, ya’ think? Just who, pray tell would Horford have to “beat out” to win the fan’s vote?

That’s a BS excuse, because no way ANY center in the league is going to beat out Dwight. Plus, there was NEVER any question of whether Al would win the fans vote, was there? It’s yet another straw man argument, you’re so good at concocting.

It’s fine for you to disagree with the coaches. Just don’t expect some of us to give your opinions (and straw man arguments) the same credence we would a Head Coach in the NBA.

But, I’ll have to say that I’m saddened and confused that you call yourself a Hawks fan, and yet disparage a Hawks player for accolades he earned. That’s an odd kind of fanhood, IMO.

KevinM

August 17th, 2012
6:17 pm

Our roster is not awful, but it is not complete either. There’s a lot of weight at the 2 and with the experience there, it will be difficult for Jenkins to get any decent look.
Al is in a good spot for us, and Teague will have to prove himself with Harris looking to take on a backup role with this team.

Ivan apparently is not guaranteed to come back, but I would be surprised if he ended up on another roster.

Those rankings have us with a future, and our future probably means to get worse before getting better. With LD at the helm, we have seen his best already and he isn’t going to change his approach. He hasn’t improved this team since Woody left. It’s time for a fresh look with a veteran coach who gets respect.

And for Ty Lue, there is an Armond Hill or a Ewing not even getting a serious consideration. Look at Charlotte….they chose Dunlap over Ewing? Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Dunlap never being a head coach should be one flag.

KevinM

August 17th, 2012
6:19 pm

For everyone believing in Al as a C, remember how he stated at one point he’s tired of going up against bigger guys? If we don’t have Zaza taking on that role primarily, then we will have a huge void at the C slot. Al taking on Hibbert and Bynum? Not a chance. LD will appease him if necessary.

Sautee

August 17th, 2012
6:23 pm

“For everyone believing in Al as a C, remember how he stated at one point he’s tired of going up against bigger guys?” – KevinM

No, Kevin, I do NOT remember Al stating that. Not at all. I DO remember him saying that he would like some help, but NOT that he was “tired of going up against bigger guys”.

If you have a link for that please let us have it. Thanks.

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
6:27 pm

glw,

i understand but i am suprised it seems there really is no market for ivan maybe due to anger issues might be why.

slimjr,

by those qualifications u stated horford cant do my question is name me 8 players in horfords position as a center or pf that fit ur criteria on what horford cant do

brigadierjerry

August 17th, 2012
6:39 pm

slimjr,

if u treat horforf as pf, was oakley other than much better defense that much different than horford?or antonio davis or otis thorpe?dale davis, brian grant?

if u treat horford as a center which centers other than howard,bynum,hibbert maybe lopez is better than horford?

u make it sound as if horford gets his shot blocked constantly. i know his post game isnt great but not any are in todays game. it is a guard and wingman game now

horford has a set shot so did oakley

KevinM

August 17th, 2012
6:53 pm

Sautee, you may be right on that, in that it was Tito pushing Sund to move Al out of the C position. But I gotta think Al talking to Tito would not be far off from that way of thinking.

That article by Schultz is where I recall it being said Al would be more effective at the PF.

Rod from College Park

August 17th, 2012
6:54 pm

“For a guy that everyone is speculating might leave LA this summer to sign a long term deal with the largest bidder, he sure doesn’t act like it. Dwight Howard apparently just bought a $20M mansion in Los Angeles this week. And he paid for it with a personal check! Damn, that must be nice, right?

Rest easy Lake Show, doesn’t look like Superman is going anywhere, anytime soon…

So, Dwight Howard just purchased a home in LA, for nearly $20M……and wrote a check for the house. #Boss #Lakers

— Mike Gabriel (@MikedupRadiocom) August 16, 2012″

jhan

August 17th, 2012
7:11 pm

Must be real nice to write a check for $20M – that doesn’t bounce!