By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
2012-13 Record: 44-38
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 3rd in the Southwest Division
Projected Starting Lineup
Losing Josh Smith might be a blessing in disguise, or it might just be a blessing. Smith is a very talented player, but his shot selection can kill an offense. Smith has been replaced with Paul Millsap, who came over from Utah via free agency. Millsap was signed to a 2-year deal worth $19 million dollars, which is one of the best contracts in the entire league. Millsap (14.6 PPG, 7.1 RBG) is a very productive player who shot nearly 50% from the field a season ago. Millsap brings consistency that the Hawks lack on the offensive end. The Hawks only shot 42% from the field last year, and it was the wings that struggled the most. Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver were particularly bad last season, but they will welcome back Lou Williams (ACL injury) who will provide another scoring option. The Hawks downfall is going to be their bench. They have some nice players, such as Elton Brand, Gustavo Ayon, and rookie Dennis Schroder – but they will not be a high scoring bench. Schroder is more of a defensive minded player, and Brand and Ayon aren’t capable of carrying the scoring load. John Jenkins could be the Hawks breakout player this season because of his ability to shoot the ball. If the Hawks get some decent bench play, they will have a chance to compete for the sixth seed in the east. Al Horford and Paul Millsap are good enough to carry this team to the playoffs, but they will need to have better success shooting the ball in order to advance in the playoffs.