Atlanta Hawks: Grading the offseason

This offseason many fans were expecting the Atlanta Hawks to make a serious push for a big name free agent like Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony. And just like last year when the Hawks failed to lure in Dwight Howard, James and Anthony have signed contracts and the Hawks were left looking at the second tier.

That’s not a bad thing as Atlanta has a long term plan and they know what they’re doing. The Hawks targeted players like Luol Deng and Greg Monroe, but to no avail.

Again this was not a failure, because the Hawks went out and found two players in the “role player” tier that will give them good value for their contracts.

Defense is and will be the focus for Atlanta moving forward and signing Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore proved that.

Sefolosha was signed to a 3yr/12M contract and was brought in strictly for defensive reasons. Sefolosha lost his three point stroke last season shooting only 31.6 percent from long range. The Hawks ability to spread the floor and create open shots should allow Sefolosha to return to his 2011-2012 form when he shot 43.7 percent from long distance. As great as Kyle Korver has been, he is a liability defensively and Sefolosha will provide crucial minutes late in games defending the better wing players in the league. Don’t expect Sefolosha to start, as he will probably come off the bench to start the season.

The Hawks signed Bazemore to a 2yr/4M contract late last week. To me, this could be the steal signing of the entire offseason. Bazemore is a high energy guy, even when he’s not on the court. A lot of NBA fans know Bazemore for “Bazemoring” in which he reenacts plays from his spot on the bench or for his vibrant celebrations. Golden State took advantage of his acts and created merchandize branding “Bazemoring.” Expect the same for the Hawks as the brilliant businessman Steve Koonin will try to make money off the fan craze. Atlanta will likely be able to pay Bazemore’s salary with just his merchandise sales which is a plus for a guy who doesn’t play a ton.

Oh and by the way, he’s a good player too. Once he arrived to a depleted Los Angeles Lakers squad his minutes jumped up to 28 per game and he responded by shooting 37.1 percent from three and scored 13.1 points per game. Defensively he is a hustle player who plays above average defense and could prove to be a secret late game weapon off the bench.

So sure, the Hawks didn’t land James or Anthony, or even Deng and Monroe, but to me that’s a good thing. Atlanta is in a position to have a lot of free cap space going into next season and can make moves then. As for this season they’ve added good defense and shooting off the bench. They drafted big men that will help add depth to a frontcourt that was depleted last season.

Although they haven’t “wowed” many this offseason, I have been impressed.

Offseason grade to date: B+

Agree or disagree? Feel free to vocalize your opinion in the comments below or tell me on twitter @brianM_garcia!

Related articles:

Atlanta Hawks: Free agent targets

Atlanta Hawks: Grading the draft

Atlanta Hawks: Draft reaction and last night’s trade

  • WaltBBall

    Last year folks thought the Paul Millsap pickup was not of the calibre FA the HAWKS should have pursued, yet, Millsap became an Allstar. Demarre Carroll was at best a good defensive player and low and behold he had a career year. There were no expectations that both of these players would achieve that kind of success. Kyle Korver has astonished all of us and J. Teague was simply amazing and before big Al went down the HAWKS were LQQKING really good.
    Thabo and Bazemore fit the mindset and talent level that can become cohesive and enhance a strong foundation of players who are thriving. Houston got Dwight Howard but no championship, OKC has Durant and no championship and Miami had the supposedly best player in the League and no championship and San Antonio beat the snot out of the big three.
    All the teams with superstar players fell by the wayside, let us not forget the Clippers and the HAWKS held their own against most teams with superstars and the HAWKS were and injury riddled team. One must understand, this was not by coincidence that the HAWKS played better than expectations, this was by design and players who could fit into it, Oh and let us all remember the amazing series with Indiana we may have lost the war but the HAWKS surely won a lot of battles.
    DF is putting together a grouping of good players and coach Bud puts them in a position to play to their strengths. I see no reason to go after a superstar who does not fit the system and rumors are what they are and that’s rumors. One can assume the HAWKS were interested in some of the available FA’s and entered into the negotiations but from watching how DF operates does anyone know or have no what he will do until it is done.

    • Daniel

      Well put, Paul Millsap was not regarded as a high caliber pick up last season. Bazemore and Sefolosha really should flourish in the Hawks system.

  • WaltBBall

    I totally agree, DF pulled off getting two solid ball players and in coach Buds offensive schemes both should flourish

  • HawksStan

    When was the last time “cap space” won a championship? NBA stars aren’t considering ATL so cap space is irrelevant at this point. Ferry deserves a D grade. Bazemore and Thebo are ok signings, but they won’t win you the East. This team is going nowhere fast

  • Jmattyice

    That’s what you always say. Next year, next year, next year. We tired of waiting. Hawks mediocre