Archives For Atlanta Hawks

First reported by the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore and later announced by the team, the Hawks have agreed to a new TV deal with FOX Sports that starts with the 2015-16 season.

From the team’s press release:

FOX Sports South and SportSouth senior vice president and general manager Jeff Genthner, and Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, today announced a new long-term television rights agreement. The new agreement goes into effect with the 2015-16 NBA season. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the new agreement, SportSouth – a FOX Sports regional network – will remain the exclusive regional television partner of the Atlanta Hawks and will produce all locally-available regular season games not exclusively selected by a national network. The regional network will also televise three preseason games, select Hawks Playoff games and produce 10 hours of Hawks-themed original programming each season.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with SportSouth and build off the record-setting ratings that we established during our thrilling playoff series last season,” Koonin said. “The broadcast of live sports is crucial to our business and we are fortunate to have a great partner with such a large footprint to grow our fan base.”

This is exciting news for the team and solves a problem that the HawksHoop team has been rather adamant about. The best way to reach your fans is to televise as many games as you can and the Hawks had not been doing that the past several seasons. Shout out to Hawks CEO Steve Koonin for trying to do as much as possible to engage the Atlanta fan base.

The Hawks dropped their first game of the 2014-15 season with a 109-102 loss to the Raptors, and it could have been much uglier that that. Atlanta started out sloppy and played poorly on the defensive end, but a late run sparked the team. Costly mistakes threw away their final chance to come out on top.

Despite the loss, there were a few things we can take away from the game:

  • DEPTH
    The Hawks lacked depth last season — mostly due to injuries — but were coming into this season with a lot of versatile players on a deep bench. By the beginning of the second quarter, Mike Budenholzer had played 11 guys, showing how deep this team really is. Elton Brand was the first sub off the bench, followed by Kent Bazemore shortly after. On more than one occasion, Bud rolled out a Mack-Bazmore-Sefolosha-Scott-Brand lineup, and it proved to be a nice spark. Scott was the best bench player in the game, channeling his fire emojis for 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. In the end, 10 guys played at least 11 minutes, and no starter played over 33 minutes.
  • Continue Reading…

After Bruce Levenson announced he would be selling his stake in the Atlanta Hawks back in September, the franchise’s future has been in flux. Former Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins has interest in buying the team, as well as former NBA star Chris Webber. The mayor of Atlanta has said he would like the team to be sold by the end of the year, which means we may see a resolution to the ownership issues in the coming months.

Professional sports franchises have sold for astronomical amounts recently, so many have wondered how much the Hawks would sell for. A post from MidLevelExceptional.com stated that Atlanta could be the franchise that bucks this recent spike in price, using low attendance as a reason for a lower price.

When it comes to NBA franchises and their price tags, there are two recent examples when it comes to buying and selling. The Milwaukee Bucks sold for $550 million back in April, after being valued at just $405 million by Forbes. The Clippers have just recently sold to professional hype man Steve Ballmer, and their price reached a record  $2 billion. They were valued at just $575 million, which shows how overvalued franchises have become in professional sports.

So will the Hawks reverse the trend?

According to Sports Business Journal, it doesn’t seem likely.The SBJ is reporting that the Hawks will sell for a minimum of $750 million, and that price has the chance to rise to the $1 billion mark. Valued at just $425 million, that would mean the trend would indeed continue with Atlanta carrying the baton.

Despite low attendance and being a nationally maligned team, there are a few things to remember when it comes to the sale of the Hawks. First off, there are only 30 teams in the NBA. That means only 30 individuals in the world can call themselves a majority owner in the NBA. Secondly, the league is growing both financially and globally. They recently signed a gigantic nine-year, $24 billion TV deal with Turner and ESPN, giving the league an unprecedented amount of money for the right to broadcast their games. There is real value to owning a franchise in the NBA.

It is important to remember that this is not the same ol’ Hawks. This team is starting to make real strides both on and off the court. With Mike Budenholzer as head coach, the system is aesthetically pleasing to watch, and should soon start to attract more fans. With the combination of two of the top 30 players in the league and legitimate depth, the Hawks could be in for a special season. They also are installing some state of the art arena operations — like a new scoreboard and player introductions.

As potential owners start to be revealed, and the ownership problem begins to end, you can expect the price to be on par with the recent purchases in professional sports. Although they may not be going for $2 billion, $750 million is certainly nothing to scoff at.

Unlike years past, this year the Southeast Division looks wide open. Not only that, it’s the most powerful it’s been in years. The defending division champion Miami Heat may have lost LeBron James, but they still have one of the five best coaches in the NBA, and two to three all star level talents. The Wizards are coming off a year where they advanced to the second round, and some think they should have gone as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. There’s some swagger going on in DC with John Wall claiming to have the best backcourt in the NBA. To help their quest for the conference finals and beyond, the Wizards went out and signed Paul Pierce; another year older, but he’s still as crafty as ever.

Then there’s the Charlotte Bobcats Hornets. To go with their rebrand, they’ve upgraded the roster, signing Lance Stephenson. Charlotte surprised many last year, grabbing the 7th seed in the East and finishing with 43 wins. They will be looking to have a repeat of last year. Not far behind Charlotte is Atlanta. The Hawks are fully healthy this year, and with Al Horford’s return, they’re looking to make a playoff run of their own. Then there’s…well the Orlando Magic are a team and they play basketball. With a wide open division, it’s anybody’s for the taking. Except the Magic, they are awful.

Miami Heat

MIA

The Heat are coming off the roughest offseason in the division. They lost LeBron James, and no matter how you spin it, they’ve downgraded. Miami has gone from surefire contender, to being predicted as low as 7th in the East. They have a lot to prove this year if they’re going to earn back some of the respect they’ve lost.

Continue Reading…

With the new-look Cavaliers unproven, the Heat missing the game’s best player, the Pacers decimated by injury (Paul George) and defection (Lance Stephenson) and the Wizards replacing defensive ace Trevor Ariza with the aging Paul Pierce, the Eastern Conference is as wide-open as it has been in recent memory. As such, I believe the Hawks should be setting lofty goals. Assuming Al Horford is able to fully recover from his most recent injury and have a healthy season, I believe the Hawks should be aiming for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

I expect the Pacers to join the Knicks, Bucks, Celtics, Magic and 76ers in missing the playoffs this season. I believe the Heat, Pistons, Hornets and Nets will compete for a playoff spot but not home court advantage. That leaves the Cavaliers, Bulls, Wizards and Raptors among teams I expect to compete with the Hawks for home court advantage in the first round. The Raptors are a danger because of their continuity. The Wizards may start slow due to Bradley Beal’s injury. The Cavaliers have unproven depth and chemistry. The Bulls face question marks concerning Derrick Rose’s health.

Of all those teams, the two I’d least like to see the Hawks face in the second round are the Bulls and Cavaliers. Thus, for the Hawks to finally break through to the Eastern Conference Finals, a level the franchise has never achieved since moving to Atlanta, I believe the Hawks should make it a team goal to avoid playing the second or third seed in the second round by securing the top seed. If the Hawks are able to secure home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, I’ll take my chances in the second round against the team that wins the four-five match-up in the first round. Continue Reading…

Hawks Helped Nix Lottery Reform
According to Grantland’s Zach Lowe, Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti led a successful, last-minute effort to nix the NBA’s proposed lottery reform, which would have evened the odds for lottery teams to move up to a higher pick. The Hawks were among a group of franchises with ties to the Spurs (which includes Presti and OKC) that voted against reform and prevented it from receiving enough votes to pass.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained some of the rationale behind the proposed changes to ESPN.com:

I think we all recognize we need to find the right balance between creating the appropriate incentives on one hand for teams to, of course, win, and on the other hand allowing for appropriate rebuilding and the draft to work as it should in which the worst performing teams get the highest picks in the draft.

Despite this stated purpose, the proposal would have increased the odds for the 48-win Phoenix Suns to move up in the draft by 400% compared to the old system, if the proposal had been in effect as of the last draft. The ESPN.com article explained the motivation for reform as follows:

Reform proposals were aimed at two elements: increasing the odds of the best teams in the lottery jumping up into the top three spots and also lowering the floor for the worst teams to drop.

And Lowe extrapolated as follows:

The league’s proposal would have injected more randomness into the process, undercutting the ability to plan and increasing the likelihood that a solid team near the bottom of the lottery lucks its way into a star.

That might deter tanking on some level, but it also raises the chances of a scenario in which a team wins multiple lotteries despite some on-court improvement. No one seemed to like it much when Cleveland won a third lottery in four years in May.

If Silver’s stated purpose is to discourage tanking and direct talent toward teams that need it, how could he possibly justify giving a 48-win team a 400% better chance at landing one of the top picks? How does such an incentive discourage a fringe playoff team from tanking out of a low playoff seed? The goals and methodology behind the proposed reform seem to work at cross purposes.

Continue Reading…

By now you’ve probably read Lakers coach Byron Scott’s comments about 3-pointers. Scott told ESPN.com that 3-pointers help teams make the playoffs but don’t win championships. The numbers show that the opposite is true. The majority of recent NBA champions had the most made 3-pointers in the playoffs, often after posting middle-of-the-pack numbers during the regular season.

The Hawks’ loss to the Pistons was a textbook example of the importance of the 3-pointer. Late in the fourth quarter the Hawks held a 10-point lead while shooting 44% from 3-point range. The Pistons, meanwhile, were shooting only 27% from distance. Brandon Jennings, one of the most infamous streak shooters in the NBA, got hot and hit three in a row. Suddenly the Pistons were shooting 38% from 3-point range and the Hawks’ lead was a distant memory.

The real story of this game, however, is that Andre Drummond is an absolute monster and force to be reckoned with. One coach who is well-acquainted with the importance of the 3-pointer is Stan Van Gundy, who brought in former Hawk Cartier Martin as part of an offseason scour for anyone who could hit a long ball. Van Gundy will shortly be in the unique position of coaching the best center of three successive generations after previously coaching Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. Continue Reading…

When Reggie Miller and Rick Fox predicted on NBA TV that the Hawks would miss the playoffs this season, I chuckled. But when ESPN.com projected the Hawks as the 7th-best team in the East and Tom Haberstroh wrote that the Hawks’ depth is “shallow as a puddle,” it was time to break my silence on the 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks. Please take a few moments and let’s talk about the deepest team in Atlanta Hawks history.

Here’s the full quote from Haberstroh from ESPN’s preseason power rankings:

Although the Hawks mostly struck out in free agency with tons of cap space at hand, they reeled in former Thunder 3-and-D specialist Thabo Sefolosha to add much-needed depth. However, the team’s bench is still as shallow as a puddle after they shed Lou Williams’ contract.

The Hawks’ trade of Williams and former first-round pick Lucas Nogueira for the partially-guaranteed contract of John Salmons will remain a topic of debate for years to come. The team traded a useful bench player (Williams) and a former pick with some promise for a $7 million contract with only $1 million guaranteed. If you’re still dumbfounded by this move, consider this: There’s a very strong possibility that the trade was part of Danny Ferry’s preparation for a sign-and-trade offer to the Pistons that would include a max contract offer for Greg Monroe.

Continue Reading…

One thing we learned definitively from the Hawks’ pre-season loss to the Grizzlies: Memphis’ starters are better than the Hawks’ 3rd string. While Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap all played 14 or fewer minutes, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph all played 29+.

The extended shift for the Grizzlies’ front line, including a 4th-quarter stint, earned Memphis a 93-88 win and dropped the Hawks to 1-1 in the preseason. The good news for the Hawks? Johnny Cash is back. For the 2nd time in as many preseason games, John Jenkins led the Hawks with 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 shooting from 3-point range. Dennis Schröder also had a nice game, following up his nine point, four assist performance in the opener against New Orleans with a 14 point, three assist showing against Memphis.

Despite Schröder’s strong game, Shelvin Mack appears on pace to maintain his status as Teague’s backup. The owner of the NBA’s 7th-best assist-to-turnover ratio last season contributed 11 points and eight assists on 4-for-7 shooting from the field (3-for-5 from three) and committed only two turnovers. Mike Scott rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points, but it took him 11 shots to get there. Continue Reading…

In Mike Budenholzer’s first year as Hawks coach, he installed an offense based on passing, tempo, and spacing, very similar to the one he ran as the head assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. A lot was expected of this system, as Budenholzer had been Gregg Popovich’s right hand man for over a decade.

A catastrophe of injuries derailed what was expected to be a successful offensive display. Al Horford missed 53 games. His primary backup, Pero Antic, missed 21 games after Horford’s pectoral tear. Antic’s backup, Gustavo Ayon, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury not long after Antic’s injury. The most important sharpshooter in the league, Kyle Korver, missed 11 games, over which the Hawks amassed a record of one win and ten losses. DeMarre Carroll, the team’s most important defender on the wing, missed nine games after Horford’s injury, of which the Hawks lost eight.

If all of that was not bad enough, Paul Millsap — an All-Star of the 2013-14 season — also missed some time. Millsap’s absence was amplified by occurring during the stretch where Horford, Antic, and Ayon were also out. Continue Reading…