Archives For Grantland

Grantland’s Zach Lowe released his winners and losers from NBA free agency. Among the losers were the Atlanta Hawks, but not because of the deals of Thabo Sefelosha and Kent Bazemore. Instead, Lowe penned this on how the Hawks’ front office is having trouble even meeting with free agents:  

No one will take Atlanta’s money, despite a good core of players, a very good coaching staff, and an innovative style of play Mike Budenholzer has only just begun installing. Some stars won’t even meet with them. I almost wanted to hug Budenholzer when I saw him in Vegas. The most common theory among insiders for Atlanta’s lack of appeal is that players see the Hawks as a dull franchise with a dead crowd and a limited postseason history that almost always involves NBA TV.

That will turn around at some point, but just about everyone Atlanta has approached so far rebuffed the Hawks’ invitation to get in on the ground floor.

I have always been an ardent defender of the Hawks’ turnout for the other reason that Lowe mentions: the Atlanta version of the Hawks franchise has never really won anything of significance; no titles, no appearances in the Finals, hell, not even an appearance in the Conference Finals for the Atlanta faithful to hang their hats on.

The Hawks have four “championship” banners hanging up in Philips Arena. All four celebrate a division championship, which I don’t think is an accomplishment you should scoff at, as it is a nice accolade. It usually means that your team is in the top four in the conference and that they have some sort of chance of making it to the Conference Finals. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks have their new head coach in Mike Budenholzer, bringing them a step closer to completing what’s sure to be a drawn-out and tough rebuilding process this summer. Budenholzer spent 16 years as an assistant coach under esteemed, transcendent head coach Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, and has often been dubbed his successor. One thing to keep in mind is that this will be Budenhozler’s first take as a head coach in the NBA, and after reading Jared Dubin’s research into tenured and first-time coaches hired in the past 17 seasons, it’s this aspect I want to focus on when talking about the hiring.

In Dubin’s Grantland post, he combs out the average winning percentages of hired coaches that are either of previous experience or are rookies in three categories:


Notice the edge first-time head coaches have in winning percentage over their entire tenure. Dubin provided great insight with these statistics, and I’d like to add on with some theories as to why freshman head coaches bode so well down the line with their teams. Continue Reading…