NBC Sports releases positive projection for 2014-2015 Atlanta Hawks


Many national projections view the 2014-2015 Atlanta Hawks as nothing more than a middling opponent with the potential to produce a .500 record, but fortunately, not everyone shares that viewpoint. On Friday, Kurt Helin of NBC’s Pro Basketball Talk provided his preview of Atlanta’s upcoming season, and in it, he assigned a 48-win projection to the team.

One of the more interesting revelations in the piece (and the entire thing is well-written) is the possibility that incumbent point guard Jeff Teague is facing a potentially important season.

"Is Jeff Teague the long-term answer at point guard? The Hawks let Teague test restricted free agency last summer. He ultimately signed a four-year, $32 million offer sheet with the Bucks, which Atlanta immediately matched. He had a solid year, but there’s been nothing to indicate the Hawks view him as a foundational piece, or that they wouldn’t be open to trading him. They’re very high on second-year point guard Dennis Schröder, who didn’t play much in his rookie season but should get more opportunities this year. There’s a chance he could take some of Teague’s minutes if he blossoms and make the five-year veteran expendable."

Helin is likely wise to note that Schröder should see increased opportunities, but more than that, Teague struggled both defensively and with his jump shot in year one under Mike Budenholzer. There is something to be said for needing a year to adjust to a new system, especially as the team’s point guard and presumed floor general, but at the age of 26, it is entirely possible that Teague has already reached his ceiling.

On a more positive note, Helin provides optimism in stating, in plain terms, why you should be interested in watching this year’s edition of the Atlanta Hawks:

"The Hawks have one of the prettiest offenses in the NBA, a ball-movement-heavy machine adapted from Budenholzer’s time with the Spurs. They’ll hit a ton of three-pointers, and a healthy Horford is extremely fun to watch."

Sounds about right. Helin’s assertion that the Hawks “are in a position to compete for home-court advantage in the playoffs” should bring a smile to the face of any Atlanta supporter, but is he alone in his thinking? What do you think about this latest estimate? Feel free to discuss, in depth, in the comments below.