HAWKS ROSTER GRADES

The 2010-2011 regular season starts on October 27 and the Hawks have their roster set. Here’s the depth chart. Let’s take a look at the Hawks roster from Point Guard to Center and pick apart the Hawks changes this offseason to see how this team is different from earlier years. Here are the 2010-2011 Atlanta Hawks position grades, head coach grade, and overall grade:

PG: Mike Bibby (23 min) / Jeff Teague (19 min)

Even though Bibby is starting, don’t expect him to get the majority of minutes at PG. Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford are going to be getting the bulk of these minutes. Bibby is starting due to Teague’s inexperience. Teague has a lot to learn, but has the building blocks to be a solid starting PG for years to come. Bibby is starting to show his age this pre-season and is getting close to handing the reigns over to Teague this season.

GRADE: C+

SG: Joe Johnson (31 min) / Jamal Crawford (26 min) / Jordan Crawford (3 min) / Pape Sy

Coming off of a huge offseason, Joe better prove himself this year after receiving a most lucrative contract thsi summer. This is where the Hawks have the most depth with All-Star Joe Johnson and defending 6th Player of the Year Jamal Crawford. With Joe getting most of the minutes at SG, Jamal is going to get the other SG minutes when Joe moves to SF for a smaller lineup. I don’t expect Jordan Crawford or Pape Sy getting any minutes at SG and will both have to battle Mike Bibby, Jeff Teague, and Jamal Crawford for minutes at PG. There is no shortage of offense at this position, but huge holes in defense (especially perimeter defense).

GRADE: A-

SF: Marvin Williams (28 min) / Maurice Evans (15 min)

Marvin Williams is our strongest perimeter defender on this roster (that means trouble). This is the weakest position for the Hawks. It seems as though Drew is going to have Marvin and Josh Smith swapping, Smith defending PF and then playing the SF on offense. This means look for Marvin’s Rebounds to increase this season, but this is a mistake. SF on offense means you play your offense around the arc and Marvin shoots better from 3 than Josh. This will be interesting to look at during the season.

GRADE: C

PF: Josh Smith (34 min) / Josh Powell (10 min)

Josh Smith is our defensive presence with monstrous blocks on help defense. If Josh can stay away from the arc and drive the ball, he will be very productive on the offensive end. Josh Powell was acquired this summer and will be used as an offensive spark off the bench. The majority of the minutes will be taken up by Josh Smith and Al Horford (natural PF) at PF.

GRADE: B

C:   Al Horford (30 min) / Zaza Pachulia (17 min) / Jason Collins (3 min) / Etan Thomas

Coming off of an All-Star season, Al Horford is back and will take the starting C position. Zaza will play the same role he did last year. This offseason had questions of whether or not the Hawks were going to add a 7 footer to put next to Al, moving Horford to his natural PF position. They didn’t. The Hawks resigned Jason Collins and acquired Etan Thomas. These two will see most of their minutes being used against larger Centers that tower Al, but will not be effective. Expect the same story as last year at this position.

GRADE: B

HEAD COACH: Larry Drew:

Preaching motion offense, expect a quicker, more exciting offense this year with strong ball movement. Where Woodson knew the offense would be there and to not worry about the offense, letting the players play essentially street ball offense (ISO based), he preached defense and really kept this team in games by stopping teams on the defensive end. Larry was Woody’s offensive mind. Now that Woody is gone, I question his ability to keep this defense at Woody’s level. Looking at the pre-season, our perimeter defense has looked HORRID! In 6 out of the 7 preseason games, teams averaged a FG% of 47.3 (46 last season) and a 3pt% of 51.2 (34.5 last season). Drew needs to address this and straighten out our defense, because, even though our offense is vastly improved, defense wins games. To have a new head coach that already knows the system is great, but I wonder how much of an improvement we got here over Mike Woodson.

GRADE: B-

OVERALL: It seems we are close to the ceiling for this team. I expect more developed games Al Horford and Josh Smith (maybe Marvin). Even though our team as a whole will be improved from last year, it is unlikely we break the 50 win mark again this year due to the strength of the Eastern Conference. While the Hawks focused on keeping this team together this offseason, many teams vastly improved in the East. So don’t expect another 3rd seed Playoff appearance. Expect the Hawks to get the 6th seed and get an abrupt 1st round exit out of the Playoffs. This team reminds me of the 1990’s Hawks, a very solid team that never got over the hump to become elite. This is not the players fault, it’s the owners.

GRADE: B-

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