Since most roster acquisitions should be done by now, the HawksHoop crew got together to give out their grades on how Danny Ferry did in his second offseason as General manager.
1. How would you grade the Hawks’ signing of Paul Millsap? (1-10)
Nubyjas Wilborn: 7. Milsap’s stats are comparable to Smoove’s. No, he won’t be as exhilarating, but he won’t be as infuriating either. It was best move Hawks could considering the circumstances.
Chris Barnewall: 10000000000000000. The Millsap signing was the steal of the offseason by contract value alone. When you lose a guy as good on defense as Josh Smith is, it’s very hard to replace that. Millsap isn’t as good on defense but he can manage thanks to some very quick feet and his shot selection won’t drive Hawks fans to a chorus of “NOOOO”. Millsap is a player who is best when next to a good defensive center and the Hawks have that in Al Horford. Great great GREAT signing.
David Vertsberger: 9. Signing Paul Millsap for under $10 million a year was one of the steals of the summer. The former Jazz forward will fill the gap left by Josh Smith with improved offensive qualities – less long twos, better spacing (35% shooting compared to 19% from 10-16 feet) and higher efficiency (TS% of 55 compared to Smith’s of 50%). While the defense takes a bit of a step back, simply looking at the value of this deal makes this a 9.
Cole Patty: 10. There are zero complaints I have with the Millsap deal. Not only did the team get a bargain money-wise, but they even got Paul at two years to stay flexible.
Buddy Grizzard: 10. ProBasketballDraft.com’s Joe Kotoch spoke to an NBA GM who believed that Millsap would get $50 million in free agency. SI.com’s Ben Golliver pointed out that Millsap’s per-36 numbers are roughly identical to Josh Smith’s at less than half the financial commitment. It’s true that Millsap is not the impact defender at multiple positions that Smith is, but Millsap will play within himself and within the system. This makes him the ideal compliment to Al Horford.
2. How would you grade the Hawks’ re-signings of Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague?
Wilborn: 7. It would be higher if Teague showed me he was ready to be elite. Korver will score points and play better defense than he’s given credit for. Overall, it’s good to see these two back. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know anybody in the locker room.
Barnewall: 9 I wrote earlier in the year about how important Korver was to the Hawks offense, so bringing him back was something that had to be done. Jeff Teague being brought back on his contract was also a great decision. Only thing keeping me away from a 10 is while I really like Teague, we still don’t know if he’s worth that money yet, so a four-year deal could be argued as a bit of a gamble.
Vertsberger: 8. Danny Ferry played the market when it came to bringing back Teague and this was ultimately the right choice. The $8 million he’s making a year will likely be considered shallow in a year or two. As for Korver, as important he is to the team, 4 years for a 32-year old who isn’t a resounding athletic specimen is a bit lengthy. His floor spacing and solid team defense does all but justify the $6 million per, however.
Patty: 6, but it can move up higher with a solid Jeff Teague trade if the time comes that Dennis Schröder is ready to start. I wish Korver’s deal was shorter, but the money per year is perfect for his on court value. As for Teague, in two years he will become 27 years old in the summer and on an extremely movable deal. If Dennis is ready, the Hawks could easily grab a more useful asset then.
Grizzard: 7. The number is only this high because Ferry brilliantly manipulated the market to get Teague at just $8 million per season. As I’ve written elsewhere, I believe the Hawks made too great a financial commitment to Korver, a player in the advanced stages of his career who does not address the Hawks’ glaring deficiency in wing defense.
3. How would you grade the Hawks’ 2013 draft picks?
Wilborn: 6. And I’m being nice since it looks like only one of these guys will actually play in Atlanta this year. Schröder has a lot of game and will get into the rotation.
Barnewall: 7. It’s really impossible to grade draft picks until they actually get some time in the NBA but when you look at the possibility of what they can become and throw in summer league the Hawks made some solid picks. Schröder had an outstanding summer league performance where everybody raved about him. His potential to be something in the future has many Hawks fans excited about him.
Vertsberger: 10. Reality is, grading draft picks is tough merely a couple of months after the selections. At the very least you can identify if the team filled a need, but with the Hawks cleaning house this summer there was hardly any spots they didn’t need to fill. All this said, I believe Schröder and Nogueira were two excellent selections. Both looked promising in the summer league and although Nogueira won’t be playing in the ATL this season – it doesn’t diminish his worth on this team.
Patty: For where they were drafting, I would give Atlanta an 8. Dennis seems to be poised to be a great value at 17. Lucas is still more of a wildcard, but his hair and upside is more than enough to see why his selection at 18 makes sense.
Grizzard: 10. I wrote before the draft that if Ferry could find rotation players with both of the Hawks’ mid-first round picks, it could improve the team’s fortunes the way Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have the Spurs. Dennis Schröder appears to be a future NBA starter, an unbelievable find with the 17th pick. Lucas Nogueira showed in Summer League that, although he lacks the strength to stand his ground against NBA big men, his rim protecting ability alters everything about the way teams attack the basket.
4. How would you grade the Hawks’ decision to let Josh Smith go?
Wilborn: 9. It was what had to be done. It was time on both sides. They had gotten as far as they were going to with each other.
Barnewall: 7. I’m not going to say it was the right move, but it certainly wasn’t the wrong one. The Hawks needed a fresh start and Josh Smith needed a change of scenery. The constant trade rumors and speculation that he was unhappy with the team created unnecessary drama that didn’t need to be brought back in a very expensive contract.
Vertsberger: 6. What stinks about letting Josh Smith go, as predictable as it was, is that he would have been quite the fit in this new system the Hawks are adopting. Smoove’s versatility resonates with the all-around dominance of players such as LeBron James or Paul George – but in the body of a prototypical four. Scary huh? There is the question of whether or not Smith would buy in to this change, and with this in mind playing it safe and letting Smith walk instead of forfeiting just under $14 million a year to him was the right move in my book.
Patty: With the kind of money and years Josh was asking, I would give the Hawks a 7 for letting him go. Josh is an extremely talented player that should be able to overcome the strange fit in Detroit, but giving Josh four years would have gone against everything Danny Ferry has preached in his second offseason as GM. So it’s nice to see a GM avoiding wavering from the plan.
Grizzard: 10. Smith desperately wanted to be something he will never be, an accurate outside shooter. Smith could have confined his shooting to areas of the floor where he is accurate, and allowed Horford, one of the league’s best-shooting big men, to take the outside shots. Instead, he chucked any chance the Hawks had of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals out the window. Chucking Smith to the Pistons removes the final impediment to Horford reaching his full potential.
5. How would you grade the Hawks’ entire offseason?
Wilborn: 7. It wasn’t groundbreaking and fans aren’t happy. But Danny Ferry did hire a solid coach and this first time I’ve seen the whole Hawks organization on same page in years.
Barnewall: 9. No offseason is perfect but the Hawks came as close to perfect as you can get. They drafted some very promising young prospects, signed a more than competent player to replace Josh Smith all while keeping a competitive team and having a bunch of cap space. In a hugely important offseason for the Hawks, they have set themselves up for a promising future.
Vertsberger: 9. I’ll have what Danny Ferry’s having.
Patty: An 8. Danny Ferry flexibility over everything.
Grizzard: 7. Bo Churney wrote in November that Smith was holding opposing small forwards to an absurd 3.1 PER. Points deducted because of how little Ferry has done to replace Smith’s defensive output.