Archives For July 2013

Late Wednesday night, Mike Muscala’s twitter account broke the news on him signing with Blusens Monbus Obradorio. This kind of move had been rumored for awhile now, so this is far from a surprise.

With Muscala needing playing time to develop, he was likely either going to play overseas or find himself in the D-League and sometimes scrapping for leftover minutes after the Hawks signed of Gustavo Ayon and Pero Antic. So, in order to free up more roster space, the team was more than fine with Mike playing in Spain while retaining his rights. Best of luck Mike, and hopefully the Hawks fan base will see you in an Atlanta uniform sooner rather than later.

Hold on, let me look at that again… *checks link* Yeah, he gave the Hawks a C+.

That seems… harsh.

I get that there was this dream of the Hawks signing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, but the Hawks still had a great offseason. They avoided tying up a lot of money in lengthy contracts, got a great deal on Paul Millsap to replace Josh Smith, and drafted Dennis Schröder and Lucas Nogueira, two of the most fawned after prospects from this year’s Summer League. They also possibly picked up the best coach on the market this summer in Mike Budenholzer.

The Hawks could easily improve upon their record from last season (44-38), but have moved into a position of cap flexibility for the foreseeable future. Compare this to the Milwaukee Bucks Continue Reading…

Hawks Claim Gustavo Ayon

Bo Churney —  July 28, 2013

According to RealGM, the Hawks have claimed Gustavo Ayon off of waivers. Robby Kalland was able to confirm the report.

Ayon last played for the Bucks and has also played with the Magic and the now-Pelicans. The 28 year old’s best season – he’s only played two – came in his rookie year, where he was getting 20 minutes per game in New Orleans and averaging six points and five rebounds. His career per-36 numbers actually compare very well with Zaza Pachulia, who will be making more than three-times as much as Ayon this upcoming season.

“Gustavo has a high basketball IQ and is a hard-nosed player,” General Manager Danny Ferry said. “He gives us quality depth at the power forward and center positions.”

“I am very excited to join the Atlanta Hawks,” Ayon said. “I had a great conversation with Coach Budenholzer and can’t wait to get to the city, meet my teammates and get to work. Vamos Hawks!”

I expect this means that the Hawks are out of the Greg Oden sweepstakes, as Marc Stein reported earlier that the team was interested in the former Portland center. This move also seems to indicate that Lucas Nogueira will not join the team this season, as the Hawks now have six players under contract capable of playing the power forward or center positions.

Mack the odd-man out?

Bo Churney —  July 26, 2013

With the Pero Antic signing, the Hawks now have 10 men on guaranteed contracts for the 2013-14 season. Jared Cunningham’s contract can still be bought-out and DeMarre Carroll still hasn’t been signed, but for the most part, the ATL roster is taking shape.

So where does this leave Shelvin Mack?

Mack is one of three un-guaranteed contracts left on the roster, with Mike Scott and DeShawn Stevenson. Mike Scott’s performance in Summer League could push the team to pick up his option and the fact that Stevenson is still on the roster seems to indicate that the team is leaning towards keeping him.

Then you have this news on the Hawks looking to buy-out Lucas Nogueira’s contract with his Spanish team, Estudiantes. While Lucas could be better served by getting another year of playing time over in Europe, you have to consider this: Nogueira’s biggest weakness so far has been his lack of strength. He shows great instincts both offensively and defensively in the pick-and-roll, runs the floor well, and can protect the rim. Isn’t it a possibility that he’d be better served working with an NBA training staff for that year?

Anyways, if that does happen, the Hawks would have 15 players under some sort of deal: Horford, Teague, Korver, Millsap, Brand, Williams, Stevenson, Schröder, Nogueira, Jenkins, Scott, Antic, Cunningham, Mack, and Carroll.

NBA rules allow a team to have 13 active players and two inactive players on the roster. So while Continue Reading…

The Hawks have reportedly agreed to a deal with Macedonian F/C Pero Antic, according to Antic’s agent. Draft Express has reported that the deal is for two years, with the second year being non-guaranteed. As of now, the team has not announced a deal.

Antic is a 6’11” big that has played his entire career in Europe. If the rumor is true, Antic will be the first Macedonian to play in the NBA.

Also, if this proves to be true, Antic will lend greatly to my pun game on Twitter:

Just hear me out.

First of all, there were hardly any bigs with Bynum’s level of talent left on the market before Atlanta signed Paul Millsap. Dwight Howard is off to Houston, and was a stretch for the Hawks to sign since free agency began. Josh Smith was about as close as it gets as far as talent goes, but all signs pointed to his time with Atlanta being over. Nikola Pekovic was on the market as well, but as a restricted free agent the Timberwolves would have likely matched any offer sheet the Hawks sign him to.

Now, there was the Omer Asik option, being he and Lin coming to Atlanta in exchange for Josh Smith in a sign-and-trade. I love Asik’s defensive prowess, but there are some key faults in his game and in this potential deal to consider. He’s 27 years old and rarely at that age does a player still add on to his game. Asik is in dire need to do so, still being on the raw side on the offensive end, shooting 56% from the free throw line, 28% from anywhere outside of 3 feet from the basket and scoring 0.63 PPP in the post.

Continue Reading…

Everything seemed to be going well in the first half. Not only did the Hawks have a 41-31 lead, but the rooks and second year guys were doing a lot of good things. Schröder was active in both shooting and passing, finishing the half with 11 points and four assists. John Jenkins, who was still acting as the number one option, actually started off strong with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting.

Nogueira was in early foul trouble – the Summer League tournament games are reduced from 10 to six fouls – but the team of Mikes in Muscala and Scott did more than enough to pick up the slack; the two were playing well within the control of Schröder’s offense and were defending and rebound at a more than acceptable rate. Hell, even Jared Cunningham had a couple of beautiful dimes.

Then the shots decided to stop falling.

After a 15-for-31 performance from the field in the first half, the Hawks went 10-44 in the second half and overtime. Schröder was still running the offense well and getting open looks, but Jenkins and Scott couldn’t convert. Nogueira also had trouble finishing some looks around the rim, but his pick-and-roll defense and rim-protection (four blocks) were definitely the highlights.

Mike Scott finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Muscala wound up with a team-high 12 boards, which means I get to post this.

mike-muscala2

The Hawks’ next game is on Friday at 6PM EDT against the Sacramento Kings.

Looking at the Atlanta Hawks roster as it stands, one glaring weakness stands out to me – the defense. Atlanta lost their defensive anchor in Josh Smith to the Detroit Pistons, and replaced his starting spot with a less-than-formidable defender in Paul Millsap. As of this moment, the Hawks will have to rely on Jeff Teague’s improvements on the defensive end this summer, Kyle Korver’s sound team defense but easily-penetrable individual guarding, and hopefully a wing that will soon be signed to help Al Horford carry the starters’ defensive workload. Calling this a questionable strategy would be generous, with hopes of nabbing a viable starting wing for a playoff team looking dim when you gloss over available free agents. This is why my suggested action is to start Elton Brand.

Brand is a 34-year old vet who once averaged 24 and 10 a night before being beaten down by injury after injury. His age is but a number though, with masked but solid contributions to his Dallas Mavericks last year. Per-36 minutes, Brand put up 12 points and 10 boards a contest on 47% shooting from the field. Continue Reading…

The Hawks had the late night game on Sunday, playing the Miami Heat’s summer squad. There was a decent amount of excitement in the Cox Pavilion preparing to watch the rookie duo of Schröder and Nogueira again, and they weren’t disappointing.

In the first quarter the Hawks offense got off to a very slow starting, not scoring their first field goal until Sergiy Gladyr hit a three with 4:56 left. Up to that point, the team was getting solid play from the defense. Schröder was swarming, forcing the opposing point guards into coughing the ball up. The looks the team had been getting were open, but the scoreboard still said 9-1. The Gladyr three took the lid off the rim however, as it led to the Hawks scoring 11 points in the last 5 minutes to be down 16-12.
Continue Reading…

Hawks Sign Elton Brand

Bo Churney —  July 15, 2013

The Hawks have signed F/C Elton Brand, per a press release from the team. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed to be a one-year deal.

Brand was a two-time All-Star before he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the 2007-08 season. Since then, he’s been a shell of his former self, but still a productive player. Last season with Dallas, he put up per-36 numbers of 12.2 points and 10.1 rebounds in 72 games of action. This was a bit of a decline from the season before with Philadelphia, where he started in 60 of the 66 games and played seven minutes more per game. In both seasons, he was a very positive player as the defensive anchor.

This is a good signing for the Hawks. Under the new CBA, nearly all one-year contracts are manageable. Likely at a low salary, Brand will play backup to Horford and Millsap in the frontcourt (which they needed), and could see the occasional spot start based on the matchup. If he’s a productive player, then great. If he’s not, then you still have the cap flexibility that comes with an expiring contract.