I now cover the Southeast division, home of the reigning champs the Miami Heat. I will go in alphabetical order again, so first team up is the Hawks. For those new to the Boom or Bust series, an FYI on the methodology of the prospect scores is available if you click here.
2011-2012 Record – 40-26
The Hawks have been in the playoffs for the last five seasons, and although they have been a pretty good team, no one ever expected the Hawks to be title contenders behind the Celtics, Magic and Cavaliers. They have good, but not great players, and they have never been able to make much noise in the offseason.
The Hawks finally shook it up this year, cutting ties with Joe Johnson and letting the focus of the team shift towards Josh Smith and Al Horford. They are still miles away from title contention, but the Hawks were never going to be close to contenders with Joe Johnson as their lead guy, so they made a risk worth taking. Aside from Horford, Smith and Teague, the Hawks don’t have that many prospects to be excited about, but at least the Hawks are taking steps in the right direciton.
Age – 26, Previous Season Stats – 12.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.3 BPG
Horford missed most of last season due to injury, but made it back for the playoffs. For the first time in his career Horford will have to carry the main offensive burden, and I think he can do it. He’s still trying to find his true position, but unless the Hawks can find a decent center (highly doubtful), Horford will be starting games at the 5.
Al has a good midrange jumpshot and is very efficient offensively. He isn’t exactly an enforcer on the rebounding and shot-blocking end, but he definitely isn’t a slouch. He is capable of being a player of Pau Gasol’s caliber, and this season could very well be his break out year.
- Prospect Score – 9/10
Age – 28, Previous Season Stats – 6.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG
Ivan Johnson snuck into the basketball world last year, and for those that saw him play, it was easy to see why Hawks GM was willing to give Ivan a chance. He plays hard and with a lot of energy, finishes strong, and is a great big man to have come off the bench. He has decent size at 6’8 but would really benefit the Hawks if he had a couple more inches on his frame and could play the center next to Horford.
Johnson should still see some minutes off the bench on this new look Hawks team. As a 28-year-old energy/hustle rookie, there isn’t that much potential for Ivan. At this point of his career, he needs to continue to improve on what he already does well and cut down on fouls and turnovers.
- Prospect Score – 3/10
Age – 27, Previous Season Stats – 12.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 37.1 3P%
For those unfamiliar with the story of Anthony Morrow, Anthony Morrow was one bus ride away from not making the league. In his first start with the Warriors he came out of nowhere to score 37 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds, and since then has been a regular rotation NBA player with his deadly shooting.
Morrow’s shooting numbers dipped last season, but with a new focus his 3 point numbers should be back to at least 40%. At a professional level Anthony Morrow is a shooter and not much else. He does however, benefit from not being a complete stiff on defense that even the most average NBA players can take advantage of.
- Prospect Score – 3/10
Age – 24, Previous Season Stats – 12.6 PPG, 4.9 APG, 47.6 FG%
Teague quietly had a breakout year in his first season as a full-time starter, more than doubling his scoring and assist averages. The Hawks bought in Devin Harris but they definitely want Teague starting moving forward.
Jeff Teague is no athletic freak but he’s got a good handle and is plenty of fun to watch. He scores well for a point guard and is a decent distributor. Teague will be in charge of getting everyone involved this upcoming season and getting the ball to Horford in positions where he can score. The Hawks could sneak into the playoffs due to how weak the competition is for the bottom playoff spots.
- Prospect Score – 5/10