Until a few years ago, the only person following the Hawks was Borat Sagdiyev. With an arsenal consisting of all-stars at shooting guard, power forward and center, Borat could have some company in Phillips Arena in 2010-11. GM Rick Sund spent the offseason wooing Joe Johnson back to Atlanta with a max contract. My guess is that Sund awoke the day after the signing with a peptic ulcer, wondering what he had just done. Johnson (21.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.7 3-pt fg) has been nothing short of solid in leading his team to its best results since Dominique Wilkins roamed the Omni, but by no means is he a franchise player, nor will he lead it past the second round of the playoffs. This is a team in need of a new point guard and better depth, but now with limited funds it will rely on the three-headed monster of Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford.
We know that we’re going to get about a 22-4-5 with some threes and a strong free throw percentage out of Johnson and that makes him a solid third-round choice. If you really want to get crazy and look at some fun box scores (and isn’t fantasy basketball about looking at fun box scores?), take a gander at Smith a round earlier. J-Smoove is a blocks and steals fool and good luck finding another power forward who can get you better than four assists per game. As it is, this is a late second round selection. If he improves his atrocious free throw shooting (.618 in ’09-10), we could get late first/early second round value out of the 24-year old. Horford has been a bit of a disappointment the past two seasons after a solid rookie campaign had us all believing we were going to be seeing the next Tree Rollins, at least without the finger-biting, from a rebounding and blocks perspective. Still, Horford can get you 14 and 10 with better than a block a game with solid peripherals (55% fg, 79% FT).
Stay far, far away from the point guard situation with this team as a fading Mike Bibby (9.1 ppg, 3.9 apg, 1.6 3-pt fg) will likely handle these chores once again. Second-year man Jeff Teague showed little during his limited opportunities last season, but he could easily supplant the veteran in the second half of the year. The better bet for value will come from disgruntled Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford. I say disgruntled because like Johnson, Crawford was looking to get paid over the summer but didn’t. He did average 18.0 points and 2.1 threes as instant offense off the Atlanta bench, but his career has been marred by inconsistency and don’t be shocked if his field goal percentage hovers around the basketball version of the Mendoza Line.
I see no other draftable commodities on this team and that includes former #2 pick Marvin Williams, who should probably think about re-inventing himself by shaving his head, growing a thick beard, getting a nasty attitude, and changing his name a la Marvin Hagler to Marvelous Marvin Williams. Perhaps first-round pick Jordan Crawford, ye of the ridiculous dunk over LeBron James at the King’s own summer camp, will have something to say at some point. Maybe they should consider signing Korki Butchiek.
PG – Mike Bibby, Jeff Teague
SG – Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford
SF – Marvin Williams, Maurice Evans
PF – Josh Smith, Josh Powell
C – Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia
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