Hawks essentially trade their 15th pick for Tim Hardaway Jr. and 2nd round picks
Former GM Danny Ferry, did a tremendous job turning around the Hawks’ organization and developing a winning culture in his short tenure with the team. Most of this was done through the draft and through underrated free agent acquisitions. The Hawks upper management has really struggled to find quality first round picks in recent years. Dennis Schroder is the only first round pick under Ferry that turned out as the Hawks expected. Most of the impact players the Hawks have found in the draft have actually been in the second round (Mike Scott, Mike Muscala, etc.). In the 2015 NBA Draft, the Hawks opted to bypass the first round completely and trade the pick for 23-year old shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. Given the Hawks history of meaningless 1st round selections, it is easy to see why the Hawks elected to trade for Hardaway. He is a proven NBA commodity that can shoot the rock off the bench and as a starter. The Hawks struggled mightily in the playoffs with their bench scoring, and Hardaway will be able to alleviate some of those issues immediatley. The Atlanta Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations, Mike Budenholzer, raves about the young player and believes he will have a huge impact in the 2015-2016 season. The move receives a C because of the results of free agency. At the time of the draft, many believed Demarre Carroll would still indeed be in a Hawks uniform next season. However, the Hawks small forward bolted for $15 million a year, and the Hawks were left with a hole at the small forward position. The hole is to be filled by Thabo Sefolosha and a platoon of underwhelming prospects. While Sefolosha is a great veteran defensive presence on the floor, he is far from the offensive threat the Hawks need on a nightly basis if they want to compete for a championship next season. With Carroll’s departure the Hawks needed to fill the 3 position through the draft, and with guys like Kelly Oubre and Sam Dekker still on the board at the 15th spot, it is hard to give this move anything more than a C unless Hardaway can prove he can play the 3 defensively. It is worth noting, however, that Coach Bud was the man who made the Spurs’ brass make the move for Kawhi Leonard on draft night. In Coach Bud we trust.
Hawks Acquire Tiago Splitter for a Non-Roster Player and a Future 2nd-Round Pick
This move will pan out to be one of the most underrated moves in the NBA of the entire offseason. Splitter has been a presence in the paint for the Spurs for years. The 6 foot 11 Brazilian averaged just under 20 minutes a game for Pop’s squad and scored 8.2 points while grabbing 4.8 boards per game. The numbers are not going to send chills up one’s spine, but his PER of almost 20 speaks for his impact on the defensive side of the ball. The Hawks needed a backup big man who can play defense and grab rebounds. In Splitter, they received a backup big man with starter qualities. Many Hawks coaches still will not admit it, but Atlanta was abused on the glass in the playoffs and also lacked a presence of big bodies in the paint. The former Spurs center will immediately fix those problems and will not be a slouch on offense either. He has played in the system that Budenholzer cloned from his days in San Antonio and will be much more offensively involved in Atlanta. Splitter, Millsap and Horford on the floor for 48 minutes will create nightmares for opposing teams. The mismatches the Hawks’ bigs can create now will be a burden to defend. They can go big with Splitter and get rebounds or stretch the floor with Moose to create spacing to help our shooters. The Hawks have options. Not to mention that Splitter came to the Hawks for almost NOTHING. The Spurs needed to shed cap in order to pursue free agents and the Hawks needed a backup center who could play great defense and rebound. The Hawks will be paying the big man around $7.5 million dollars over the next two seasons. Sounds like a great deal to me. Splitter will also serve as a great mentor to rookie Edy Tavares. The two both speak Portuguese for one. Also, Splitter is a guy who has used textbook rebounding form in his days in the league to make a career for himself. Tavares is a guy who is a raw prospect with insane size, but is raw and needs to perfect his form to take his game to the next level. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.
Hawks Re-Sign Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap has been a stud the two years he has played in Atlanta. Many Hawks fans wanted a Lamarcus Aldridge or a Marc Gasol in free agency, but found out quickly that was not going to happen. The Hawks number 1 priority coming into the offseason was signing this guy. The Hawks not only resigned the All-Star power forward, but Millsap took less money to come to Atlanta. Millsap signed a 3-year/$58 million dollar contract with the Hawks with a player option after the second year. This allowed the Hawks to make some other basketball moves while resigning one of their best players.
Hawks Sign Justin Holiday
This signing is not exactly the blockbuster one Hawks fans were hoping for, but Holiday could be a nice piece for the Hawks this upcoming season. The shooting guard/small forward spent last season playing for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. He did not see too many minutes, but did play in 59 games and averaged 4.3 points. When looking back on this move at the end of the season, Hawks fans might have a different view. Holiday is an up and coming basketball player, as he is athletic, can play defense, and most importantly shoot the basketball. Holiday will not have a better opportunity to insert himself into a starter’s role in the NBA than this season. The Hawks are lacking great wing players, and Holiday should be able to step up and find a role on this basketball team. The grade for this move might be a lot higher by the end of the season. Holiday looks like he can be the next guy our player development staff turns into a formidable NBA player.
Hawks Sign Center Walter Tavares
Tavares is an fascinating NBA prospect. He stands at 7 feet 3 inches tall with a 9 foot 10 inch standing reach. He is extremely raw and will likely need to continue to develop outside of the NBA before he is able to contribute to the Hawks. However, there were rumors Tavares was considering signing a multi-year contract with a European team, so its good that the Hawks were able to lock up talented young big man. He’s cheap and an intriguing NBA prospect, but it’s too early to tell what we’re getting in Taveres quite yet.
Hawks Sign Lamar Patterson and Terran Petteway
The Hawks currently have 14 roster spots locked up with one remaining. The Hawks signed both of these guys out of summer league to compete for the final spot. Patterson has to be viewed as the favorite to make the team. He was one of the Hawks second round picks last season and spent last year overseas developing his game in Turkey. He had a very strong summer league and looks NBA ready. However, Terran Petteway was also signed to compete for the roster spot. He came in as an undrafted rookie out of Nebraska and turned heads with his play at summer league. Both of these guys deserve a shot in the NBA, but only one will be getting it with the Atlanta Hawks.