We preview the Atlanta Hawks and the impact their players will have on the 2016-2017 fantasy basketball season.
Atlanta brought in Dwight Howard to replace Al Horford and gave the keys to Dennis Schroder, in an attempt to re-tool their roster for another playoff run this season. Trading Teague made sense for Atlanta, they were getting nowhere with their current core and they had a decision to make between offering a big contract to one of Schroder or Teague, so why not give the younger guy, who still has a full season on his rookie contract full reigns to see what he can do?
While Dwight helps on the defensive end with his shot-blocking and rebounding, it makes them a lot more predictable on the offensive side of the floor, allowing teams to put more of a focus on stopping Millsap. The Hawks will also be hoping that Korver re-discovers his outside shot after an inefficient shooting season (mainly due to recovering from his surgery the previous off-season and a result of being too handsome).
|Dwight Howard Houston Rockets
Jarrett Jack Brooklyn Nets
Taurean Prince NBA Draft
Malcolm Delaney Free Agent
|Al Horford Boston Celtics
Kirk Hinrich Free Agent
Atlanta Hawks Depth Chart
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Rotation Player Projections
||Tim Hardaway Jr.
Backup Power Forward
Kris Humphries and Mike Scott are all fighting for minutes as Paul Millsap's back-up. Shooting and rebounding is generally what teams look for in a backup power forward, and with Humphries developing a three-point shot last season (0.6 3PM), along with large rebound rate, should be enough to earn him the bulk of the minutes. Given Tiago Splitters health issues (we’ll touch on this later), there’s a chance both will get minutes at back-up power forward and center.
Backup Point Guard
I was all aboard the Malcom Delaney hype train when the Hawks signed him, but then they went off and signed Jarrett Jack (a typical move from a team desperate to hold onto a low playoff seed). He’s a ready-made rookie, being 27-years of age and has a consistent outside shot. If he can start the season strong it’ll put him in good stead to keep him in the point-guard rotation when Jack returns and recovers from his ACL injury.
Rise in Value
There’s a chance Schroder is going to get so hyped during the off-season that he becomes overrated, so don’t reach for him too early, but in saying that, all indications point to Dennis having a great season. He had the highest usage rate of any Hawk player last season (28.8%) and will likely be playing an extra 10 MPG, bringing him into the low 30MPG region. By adjusting his minutes and play-making responsibilities we have him projected to be getting 16.8 PTS, 7.4 AST, 1.4 STL, 1.5 3PM and 79% FT from your traditional point guard stats. Just be weary of his TO rate, which will be a little high as he adjusts to playing 30+ MPG and being the primary point guard on the team.
Decrease in Value
Going from being the starting point guard in a talent-starved team like the Brooklyn Nets, trying to recover from and ACL and finding yourself in a position battle for the backup point guard role is enough to zap the fantasy value out of most players. Jack doesn’t belong in draft queues this season, even if you’re playing in a 20 team league.
Tiago Splitter received a 2016 off-season sized contract from the Spurs back in 2013 (4 yr/$36M) and it fooled teams into thinking he was good. Since his 2013-2014 season he has played in 59, 52 and 36 games and can’t even be relied upon to play in a backup role. While the appeal is there in deep leagues (a Hawks center who can hit FTs should get some playing time), his inability to get on the court is a concern.
Other Player Summaries
Paul Millsap Underrated
Millsap is the fantasy basketball gift that keeps on giving. He finished last season in the top 10 fantasy players and was regularly available in the second round of drafts. While he’s another year older and teams will be able to focus on him more on the offensive end with Teague and Horford gone, he’s still a quality draft target.
Dwight Howard Punt FT
A happy Dwight Howard is still a great punt-FT big man, but happy isn’t something you often associate with teammates of James Harden. Give him early offensive touches and he’ll put the extra effort on the defensive end, and if Atlanta do one thing well, it’s share the ball.
Kyle Korver Handsome
I have to come clean, I have a man crush on Korver and I’ve drafted him in my main league every season for the past three years, but I think this season is finally the year I move on. While I think he still has one more season left in him, you don’t want to be drafting a one-trick pony who’s going into the season as a 35-year-old, no matter how perfect his hair is.
Kent Bazemore Deep League
Bazemore was my deep league pick last off-season after the departure of DeMarre Carroll, so I’ll forever be thankful that he made me look smarter than I actually am. The Hawks are relying on him to be a consistent option on the offensive end, and to justify his newly inked 4yr/$70M contract. He should also see a slight increase in his counting stats with some extra playing time and responsibility.