Ford Grades Hawks’ Offseason as C+

Bo Churney —  July 31, 2013

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 (also given a C+ by Ford), who… well, I’m not exactly sure what the hell the Bucks are doing; they’ve make themselves healthy cap wise, but they have 10 frontcourt players under contract, including giving Zaza a $16 million deal. (I love Zaza, but he’s not worth that much)

For more optimistic takes on ATL’s offseason, Zach Lowe put the Hawks on his list of winners from this offseason. And Bill Simmons said this about the Hawks in a piece on Grantland:

Another one of my favorite exchanges goes to one of my favorite offseason GM performances: Atlanta’s Danny Ferry letting Smith leave, then replacing him with Paul Millsap (two years, $19 million = THEY S-T-O-L-E HIM), keeping Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague (four years, $56 million combined), then drafting German point guard Dennis Schroeder and a Brazilian energy guy named Bebe (I like both of them). Can someone send me the e-mail addresses of all 175 Hawks fans? I’d like to congratulate them.

Simmons’ snark aside, it seems like most people agree that the Hawks did very well in the 2013 offseason. Hopefully that thought will stay the same over the next few years.

Bo Churney

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22 responses to Ford Grades Hawks’ Offseason as C+

  1. Carlos Ramirez July 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Did Ford explain his grade for the Hawks? What was his “reasoning”?

    • He was really, really vague about his grade.

      “Overall the Hawks didn’t do a lot to move the needle in either direction. I doubt they crack the top five in the East next season, but they should still be in the playoff hunt. Atlanta should have cap room again next year to make a substantial offer to another free agent, and if Schroeder progresses, they’ll have a trade chip in Teague. So while the future is not incredibly bright, there are still opportunities to get better.”

      The first part of that last sentence is just wrong. I’m a huge fan of what our future looks like.

      • Carlos Ramirez July 31, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        I mean, it kind of makes sense since I’m not sure if the Hawks can beat out the Heat, Knicks, Pacers, Bulls, or the Nets at top five of the Eastern Conference, but I think he’s flat out wrong and clearly not seeing the long-term results of this summer’s acquisitions. Chad Ford is an NBA Draft Insider. He’s paid to know college ball and all the hot prospects, not cover NBA all season long and know everything about the Eastern Conference.

  2. Yeah Ford seems a bit self contradictory. Any time you can let what some consider your best player walk with no compensation while setting up long-term clap flexibility and NOT TAKING A STEP BACK don’t you have to consider that a win? For years prior to the Harden trade I was impressed with how hard Houston played every night. I feel that by performing better than the sum of their parts, it caused those individual pieces to be overvalued by opposing GMs. That’s why you don’t tank. If you’re a lottery team, you have to overpay for free agents. If the Hawks can still be a 6th seed, that’s better than Houston finished last year. A difference-making free agent could decide to come here if they perceive that they could push the Hawks into contention. Meanwhile, by winning now, you keep the value of your trade-able assets high.

  3. We were an average team last season, making the playoffs in a weak conference.

    We’re an average team again, likely to make the playoffs in a weak conference.

    Did we realy have a GREAT off-seaso, Bo?

    Houston had a GREAT offseason. The Clippers had a GREAT off-season. Ours was…solid.

    C+ seems pretty spot on.

    We still have no real Center, no starting SG or SF. We had flexibility; we still have flexibility. But that won’t increase our win total.

    A GREAT offseason? Why are us Hawks fans so easily amused? Oh yeah, because our franchise has been so terrible for so long.

    • You have no sense of a future.

      • LOL. Come on, Bo. You can make a better argument than that.

        I’m not saying we made poor choices, but Ferry struck out quite a bit this summer.

        He aimed for Dwight Howard, but settled on Paul Milsap.

        He reached out to Stan Van Gundy, and ended up with a rookie HC instead. We missed out on George Karl and Lionel Hollins. (Two guys who could have helped with recruiting DH, BTW).

        CP3 didn’t even test free agency. We could not work out a sign and trade for Josh.

        Two of our draft picks didn’t make the roster.
        The other is likely a backup this year.
        We are still unsettled in our starting lineup.

        But we maintained cap flexibility…problem is no top talent wants to come here.

        Our future seems solid with Schroeder and Jenkins, but we have a LOOOONG way to go.

        • Budenholzer might be a better coach than Karl and Hollins. (and why the hell would they have lured Howard?)

          27 other teams in the league didn’t get Howard or CP3. Do call their offseasons failures?

          Why are people so obsessed with sign-and-trades? A SnT for Asik would have been cool, but outside of that, what were the realistic options to get a good deal for Smoove? Would you have wanted to take a player like Lin (who is worse than Teague) back when he’s getting paid more than JT?

          Ford gave us the same grade as the Bucks and a worse grade than the Pistons and Celtics. I have a problem with that.

          • I wouldn’t call the off-season overall a failure. But, again, we were a mediocre playoff team last season. We are (at best) a mediocre playoff team again this season.

            That would be an improvement for Pistons and Bucks .

            For us it’s just more of the same.

            We’re not contenders yet, Bo.

          • Carlos Ramirez July 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm

            I don’t understand how a team that’s rebuilding and traded away two of their best players in franchise history can get a higher grade than us. I can soft of buy the Pistons just because Joe Dumars wants to win now and he did a good job of moving the team towards the players by landing J-Smoove and Jenninngs, but the C’s…come on now

        • Carlos Ramirez July 31, 2013 at 10:17 pm

          Jamaal, obviously we didn’t have a great off season, but we had a really good one considering how weak the free agent class was this summer. CP3 was never coming to Atlanta, which means Dwight Howard was never considering Atlanta in the first place. Yes, we might have leaked our intentions to go after them, but it was never going to really happen in the first place. Plus, we should look a lot better without Josh Smith. Granted, his defensive prowess will be sorely missed, but his offensive efficiency was easily addressed by signing Paul Millsap and drafting Dennis Schroeder. As a team, we should look a lot better if ball moves more instead of trying jacked up mid range jumpers that can ruin a team’s momentum in any game. We have secretly become one of the deepest teams in the league with all our off season acquisitions, and we have three point shooters and guys who can pass the ball well. Sounds just like a team from the west, doesn’t it?

          • ‘Los, I think you and I are on the same page. Bo called the offseason GREAT. I believe that is a gross overstatement. We didn’t really fill any of our holes, nor did we improve at any spot in our starting lineup.

            We are no better than last season or even 2011 for that matter.

            And I am assuming Boston got a high grade for clearing cap space and obtaining a boatload of draft picks in the process. The same things Ferry was lauded for last offseason.

    • Carlos Ramirez July 31, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      A B doesn’t equal solid?

  4. This isn’t the 2012 Atlanta Hawks.
    Forget the past.
    Not the highlight factory.
    It’s a basketball team now.

  5. I forgot to say, jamaal Do you really believe he went after Dwight? Dwight would never play in ATL.
    Or any of the other “fails”?
    Then you don’t know Ferry.
    He feigned interest on most of those so-called fails, to get the guys he wanted, under the cap, so he could go after what he wants, next year. FYI, Millsap was the steal of the off-season.

    • Do I believe the numerous news outlets as well as Dwight himself who all acknowledged a meeting between hawks and Howard?

      Yes. Yes I do.

      I also can’t help but notice we made 0 Free Agent signings until it was reported Dwight had personally called to indicate he would not sign with Atlanta.

      We dumped loads of salary last year all in open of signing??? Dermarre Carroll? Pero Antic? Paul Milsap?

      Hell, even our sales dept went on record mentioning we’d be pursuing CP3 and Howard.
      Are you telling me this was all just a master plan to sign Paul Milsap to a 2 year deal?

      We are. Work in progress. Ferry’s master deal has yet to happen yet.

      • Still got him for a steal. Pretty masterful move there considering what his less talented frontcourt teammate got from Charlotte.

  6. Millsap wasn’t the master plan but he was one hell of a Plan B, executed immediately upon learning the outcome of The Indecision.

  7. Is it just me or does anyone think Teague and Millsap will be traded on draft day for picks next year?

  8. I don’t get why people don’t see a C+ as a solid grade. It’s not an F or a D, it’s a little above middle of the road. And I think that’s about right for what we did this summer.

    For the long-term, the moves we’ve made this year have opened up cap space and have the potential to be followed up by other moves to make a great team. But these moves by themselves haven’t really upped the meter much on the current squad’s capabilities, and (at least to me) have likely taken us to a worse record next year than this past one, as the top teams of the conference have made some pretty significant improvements for the short-term.

    So it’s hard to wax eloquent on how awesome this offseason was. C+ seems about right to me…not spectacular, but if they keep up this sort of improvement in their planning, then this offseason’s work could enable the front office to make next offseason be a great one.